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Update: 4 December 2009

Many of our members have written to their MPs to express their concerns, and in turn many MPs have written to the Department of Health. The comment below is typical of the responses received.

“We recognise that this is a very complex issue, especially with regard to anti-epileptic drugs, and the Department is currently refining its proposals for the implementation of generic substitution.”
Mr Mike O’Brien QC MP, Minister for Health.

The latest information Epilepsy Action has received, as a result of a parliamentary question, is that the Department of Health hope to publish the consultation in the new year.

In addition the minister stated, “The exact timetable for implementation will therefore be influenced by the outcome of this consultation.” Therefore these ‘generic substitution’ proposals will not come into effect in January 2010 as planned, but may be delayed until later in the year.

Epilepsy Action’s advice is to be aware of this when picking up repeat prescriptions. In January, ‘generic substitution’ will remain illegal. If people are worried, we recommend they speak to their prescriber about specifying the brand name of their drug on their prescription.

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