Improper drug use costing NHS millions

Drug regimes are under scrutiny as the government looks for new ways to reduce NHS spending.

New research cited by found that between 30 and 50 per cent of patients do not take the drugs they have been prescribed in the way their doctor or nurse intended. This could be anything from not taking them at all to getting the dosage or timings wrong.

As such, health and government officials are considering ways to better educate patients of proper prescription usage. Not only would it mean the drugs are taken as intended, it would make for a more efficient health service. Greater efficiency, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has claimed, would mean the NHS’s annual bull of £13.3 billion on drugs wouldn’t need to be reduced.

Hunt explained: “This will not just reduce waste by reminding people of the cost of medicine, but also improve patient care by boosting adherence to drug regimes.”

Using text messages to inform patients of drug regime adherence has been successfully trialled across the Atlantic with great success. Breast cancer patient Liz Fisher needed to take medication once a day to stay on track with her treatment, although it would regularly slip her mind, as it was “one more new thing” in her hugely different daily regime. To combat the forgetfulness, her local cancer centre began sending out daily message reminders. Fisher hasn’t missed a dose since.

“I took the pill every single day without fail,” Fisher told