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Pharmacist-led medicine service could save NHS £517 million

A scheme in which pharmacists help patients stick to their drug regimens could save NHS England £517.6 million in the long term and should be allowed to continue, a team of health economists says.

A scheme in which pharmacists help patients stick to their drug regimens could save NHS England £517.6 million in the long term and should be allowed to continue, a team of health economists says

nms
The service is popular with community pharmacists and patients. Picture: iStock

A Department of Health scheme to help patients stick to their drug regimens has been so successful that it could save NHS England £517.6 million in the long term, a team of health economists has found.

Researchers say the New Medicine Service – a free scheme launched in 2011 in which community pharmacists give advice and help to patients taking new medicines – improved medicines adherence by 10% in a sample of 503 patients.

Simple and popular

Even in the short term, the scheme, in which pharmacists are paid £24.60 each time they look after a patient as part of NMS, has saved the NHS £75.4m.

Lead researcher Rachel Elliott said: 'On the basis of the evidence we have gathered for this research, we strongly recommend that NMS should continue to be commissioned in the future.

'This is a simple intervention, which has been popular with community pharmacists and patients.'


Elliott R et al (2017) Cost Effectiveness of Support for People Starting a New Medication for a Long-Term Condition Through Community Pharmacies: An Economic Evaluation of the New Medicine Service Compared with Normal Practice. PharmacoEconomics. doi: 10.1007/s40273-017-0554-9

 

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