Spending on drugs in Eastern and Coastal Kent PCT in 2008
The following graph indicates the range of spending of the different practices. Lower spending means generally the practice may be saving taxpayer's (your) money. The graph is corrected for ASTRO-PU and this means the results should be fairly comparable as it corrects for age gender and other factors that determine if a patient would need more or less medication. For instance retired people generally take more tablets than young adults. It is explained on the Prescription Pricing Authority website PPA site. There are some flaws, the method is not very accurate for growing or shrinking practices, and not very accurate for practices with unusual patient populations.
What does it mean?
Assuming that the ASTRO-PU correction is reliable, which is disputed by some, it could be the doctors are prescribing cheaper versions of the same medications (generic or unbranded), or that the doctors with higher spend are giving medicines that are not strictly needed. On the other hand it might be the patients in the practices with less spending do not get the all the medication they may need . There is no way to tell except by looking at health outcomes. But health outcomes depend on how rich you are and where you live and the problem of how to compare doctors has not been satisfactorily resolved yet.
To give you an idea about how much drugs cost, in 2008 about £334,000 was spent on drugs, more than the total cost of running the surgery.