This site is intended for health professionals only

GPs “pressured” to offer low-cost osteoporosis drugs

9 October 2007

Share this article

GPs are being pressured to prescribe osteoporosis treatment based on cost assessments, and not patient suitability, a survey shows.

The National Osteoporosis Society found that 83% of GPs surveyed are being pressured to prescribe an osteoporosis treatment based on costs.

Of these, 28% said the pressure was great and 67% admitted to changing treatments selected by consultants for their patients due to restrictions imposed on them by local primary care trusts (PCTs).

Current NICE guidance recommends alendronate as the only firstline treatment for osteoporosis.

Some 39% of doctors said they feared that if this draft guidance did not change, patients will experience a lower quality of care.

Nick Rijke, the National Osteoporosis Society’s director of public and external affairs, said: “If NICE guidance goes ahead unchanged, with GPs and clinicians not compelled to provide a second-line treatment for patients who can’t cope with NICE’s first choice of drug, prescribers will be at the whim of the purse-holding PCTs.”

David Reid, chiar of the National Osteoporosis Society medical board, added: “Funding pressures are such, that unless changes are made to NICE guidance, patients will go without and face the consequences.

“It is clear from this survey that NICE must rethink.”

National Osteoporosis Society