Two-thirds of doctors have been ordered not to prescribe certain drugs by their trust, even though the results could be potentially fatal, a new survey shows.
The poll by Doctor magazine and sister publication Hospital Doctor also found one in six doctors have seen patients die because of rationing in NHS resources.
The research reveals that consultants sometimes send patients back for a new GP referral to attract more funding, rather than referring them straight to a second consultant.
One GP, Dr Pradeep Sharma, said the system is "a lottery", and a patient's survival can often depend on their address.
Around 21% of doctors said they have been told not to prescribe branded statins, which are used to lower cholesterol.
And 12% said specified antiobesity drugs have been banned, while 9% said they have been told not to hand out some smoking cessation medications.
British Medical Association (BMA) general practitioners committee deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey hit out at the drug funding rules, saying: "We want the Government to be open about it and not announce it's going to pay for x, y and z when it knows full well the PCT has got to make decisions about demand management."