by Kazeem Olalekan MRPharmS
You know the deal: Prescribe generically and you can save a lotta cash for the NHS. In most cases this is true and laudable, after all, there is very little of the crisp stuff doing the rounds. So you might understand the need to switch from a prescription of Voltarol Emulgel 1% (at a BNF cost of £5.63/100g) to generically prescribed Diclofenac gel 1%. That should save a few bob! The only problem is that there is no currently licensed generic Diclofenac gel 1% (I stand corrected). Even if there is, the Tariff price for a prescription of Diclofenac 1% gel 100g is still £5.63. A prescription switch thus have not cost benefits.
In attempting a switch, another Diclofenac (i.e. 3%) is being picked because that is the first one that comes up on the system (after all there are so many different variations of Diclofenac!). It is an easy mistake to make when confronted with such big array of options. This is of course not clinically appropriate if all you are trying to relieve musculoskeletal pain. The 3% strength is licensed for actinic keratosis – that is sun skin damage to you and me. Oh…and by the way, a 100g tube of this stuff costs £76.60 (BNF).
So in an attempt to prescribe generically, we have prescribed the wrong product and £70.97 worse off! I think we should prescribe this by brand…don’t you?