DERRICK M. DUNLOP, M.D., F.R.C.P., F.A.C.P. (HON.)
The British National Health Service of 1948 was a social advance of great magnitude, bringing medical care to those who could least afford it. Nevertheless, the elimination of the financial barrier between the physician and patient has not solved all problems. It has encouraged over-prescribing and has vastly increased the national drug bill. Fifteen percent of the prescriptions are for psychotrophic medicines. Great quantities of prescribed drugs are not consumed and are left in domestic medicine cupboards, which may be a factor in the recent epidemic of self-poisoning. Britain is certainly not exceptional, however, in the consumption of drugs in comparison with other countries in the Western World.
The work of the British Safety of Drugs Committee during the last 5 years is described, and the provisions of the new Medicines Act are outlined.
More thorough undergraduate and postgraduate instruction in therapeutics and applied pharmacology is urged.
DUNLOP DM. Drug Control and the British Health Service. Ann Intern Med. ;71:237–244. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-71-2-237
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1969;71(2):237-244.
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