In Northern Ireland the expenditure on GP prescribed products is in the region of £400m annually relating to over 38m prescription items. GPs are funded for prescribing medicines to their patients based on weighted patient populations.

GP prescribing

GPs are encouraged to prescribe medicines by their generic name. This is because generic medicines are usually as effective as the branded versions, but can cost up to 80 per cent less. This frees up health service resources to pay for other treatments and it also gives the pharmacist the widest choice of products to dispense. To improve the quality and cost effectiveness of medicines management in Northern Ireland, a formulary has been developed which is a preferred list of medicines from which your GP would choose; the preferred list is on the basis of available evidence for their effectiveness and their safety.

Work in information analysis directorate (IAD) focuses on the development of resource allocation formulae and prescribing measures to allow organisations to monitor prescribing and compare themselves with others.

GP prescribing formula

GP quarterly prescribing data

The business services organisation (BSO) publishes prescribing data for GP practices quarterly. For further information visit the BSO website to view the prescribing by GP practice database.

Prescribing measures

For further information visit the health & social care information centre prescribing website.

Generic prescribing and dispensing

Generic prescribing and dispensing has improved greatly in Northern Ireland in the last few years.

NI formulary

More information is available on the HSCB formulary website.


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