Plans that would enable branded medicines to be substituted for the dispensing of generic medicines in primary care have been set out by the Department of Health.
The proposals would result in long-term savings for the NHS.
A 12-week consultation is looking at keeping the current situtation; allowing branded products to be substituted with generic equivalents but having a list of products exempt from the scheme or allowing branded products to be substituted with generic equivalents but only on a selected group of products.
However, health professionals would be able to stipulate on a patient’s prescription if they thought it was not appropriate for a certain medicine to be substituted with a generic equivalent.
They would take into account their patient’s medical history and continue to prescribe a specific make of medicine if necessary.
Health Minister Mike O'Brien said: "Where clinically appropriate, it is only sensible to allow more expensive branded products to be substituted with the same generic medicines which are just as effective as the branded version."