DH to consult on Automatic Generic Substitution

The Department of Health (DH) plans to conduct a full, formal consultation on the arrangements for the implementation of Automatic Generic Substitution this Autumn.

This will be welcome news to many who have serious concerns about the clinical implications that compulsory generic substitution would have for patients.

The decision follows representations made by patients, healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical companies opposed on several grounds to the ABPI’s proposal, initially rejected but subsequently accepted by the DH, to introduce Automatic Generic Substitution in January 2010.

The intention to conduct a formal consultation will be welcomed by many stakeholders who have petitioned the DH to go public on the proposal to ensure that the practical impact of generic substitution on patient outcomes, as well as safety, concordance and the NHS medicines bill, is considered.

Earlier this year, the paper Automatic generic substitution: Clinical implications for patients highlighted the need for public consultation. The paper was written and endorsed by a multidisciplinary group of healthcare professionals and patient groups, while pharma manufacturer Norgine provided funding for the group.

In addition, a growing number of parties have signed a petition calling for public consultation, hosted at http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/genericsubst/.

Norgine’s COO, Peter Martin, said: “It is vital that all stakeholders continue to raise issues with the DH to ensure that all angles are covered in the proposed formal consultation. We will continue to work with industry partners, healthcare professionals, professional bodies and patient groups to ensure that all voices are heard. We want to ensure the best outcomes for the patients and for the taxpayer.

“It is hoped that these open discussions, focusing on the key area of patient safety, will prevent the proposal of Automatic Generic Substitution from being implemented in the UK.”