New Research: TaxPayers’ Alliance criticises £67 million wasteful subsidy to pharmacists

April 20, 2012 1:10 AM

The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has criticised the £67 million subsidy given to pharmacists for Medicine Use Reviews (MURs), which many GPs regard as a waste of money.

Click here to read the full report 


The reviews encourage pharmacists to spot any overlaps or interactions between medicines being taken by patients. They are also intended to reduce drug waste but a recent academic study saw GPs call their effectiveness into question, saying they “were, by and large, viewed as a waste of time and money.”

The key findings of this report are:

  • Pharmacists are paid £28 for each review by the NHS. National chains like Boots, Tesco and Asda have many branches and make millions a year by carrying out MURs.

  • 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.

  • 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. The total revenue for national chains can be much higher, as they have many branches nationwide.


Click here to read the full report 


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.”
The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has criticised the £67 million subsidy given to pharmacists for Medicine Use Reviews (MURs), which many GPs regard as a waste of money.

Click here to read the full report 


The reviews encourage pharmacists to spot any overlaps or interactions between medicines being taken by patients. They are also intended to reduce drug waste but a recent academic study saw GPs call their effectiveness into question, saying they “were, by and large, viewed as a waste of time and money.”

The key findings of this report are:

  • Pharmacists are paid £28 for each review by the NHS. National chains like Boots, Tesco and Asda have many branches and make millions a year by carrying out MURs.

  • 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.

  • 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. The total revenue for national chains can be much higher, as they have many branches nationwide.


Click here to read the full report 


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.”

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