The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has criticised the £67 million subsidy given to pharmacists for Medicine Use Reviews (MURs).
In its report published today, it cites a recent academic study in which GPs call into question the effectiveness of MURs describing them as ‘a waste of time and money’.
Pharmacists are paid £28 for each review by the NHS – which means national chains like Boots, Tesco and Asda which have many branches make millions every year from carrying out MURS.
The report notes that there is no specific time given to perform a MUR, but a small survey of pharmacists suggests that it takes between 5 and 15 minutes, which means the pharmacist is effectively being paid between £112 and £336 an hour. The report notes that average funding to a GP, for a patient on their list for a whole year, is £64.59. A pharmacist gets almost half of this just for performing a single MUR.
Each pharmacy branch is allowed to perform a maximum of 400 MURs each year for a total revenue of £11,200, enabling the total revenue for national chains to be much higher.
The TPA goes on to call into question the effectiveness of MURs citing research from the University of Nottingham which found little evidence that they achieved improvements in medicine usage. GPs interviewed in this study called the MURs a waste of money.
Matthew Sinclair, director of the TaxPayers Alliance said: “These Medicine Use Reviews are incredibly expensive and achieving very little. The Government should act to reduce the cost of MURs rather than continuing with a system that encourages national chains to try and squeeze as much money out of taxpayers as possible, to pay for reviews that most doctors don’t think represent good value.”