MSPs are to investigate how the health service goes about buying and dispensing drugs as part of a new inquiry looking at medicines in NHS Scotland.
Pricing regulation, who can write prescriptions and tackling medicines wastage when people do not take their pills are all to be considered by Holyrood’s health and sport committee.
Estimates suggest anywhere from 15% to 50% of prescriptions go to waste and the committee will look at tech solutions that could make the current system more efficient.
The committee is asking interested parties for views on questions such as controlling the drugs budget and value-for-money in medicines spending.
Lewis Macdonald MSP, convener of the committee, said the amount of money spent on medicines came up repeatedly when MSPs had questioned health boards about their finances.
Health boards have previously warned it is becoming harder to keep up rising drugs costs – driven by new policies that see more drugs approved for use on the NHS.
The north-east MSP said: “We need to ensure that patients are receiving the most clinically and cost-effective medicines possible while ensuring medicines wastage is reduced to a minimum
“This is a vital inquiry and the committee look forward to seeking solutions to help future proof Scotland’s NHS so that any medicines required are available and acquired at a fair price that benefits all.”
The committee says the inquiry will not cover the processes used to decide whether medicines should be made available in NHS Scotland, which have already been the subject of a series of reviews over the last decade.