The cost of paracetamol prescriptions for NHS Tayside has reached a five-year low, according to new figures.
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted to the authority revealed the amount, as well as the drop in the number of prescriptions handed out for the drug.
As of October 7, the cost to NHS Tayside of prescribing the painkiller to patients since January this year was £385, 306, compared to £1,021,335 in 2015.
At the time of the FOI response, there had been 103,633 paracetamol prescriptions, fewer than half the 220,134 in 2015.
Since 2015, the cost of these prescriptions and number handed out to patients has decreased year on year.
By 2016, the cost had dropped to £1,004,228. The figure further declined to £861,610 and £784,764 in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
An NHS Tayside spokesperson said the reduction could be due to a range of factors.
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They said: “We may be using less expensive formulations, for example a reduction in liquid or capsules but without further analysis we could not say for certain.
“(It) may be due to people with short term self-limiting conditions buying their own paracetamol instead of getting it prescribed.”
Chairman of Perth and Kinross Council Integration Joint Boards, SNP Councillor Eric Drysdale welcomed the figures, describing them as “really positive”.
He said: “Prescription costs are obviously a big area of ongoing expenditure and so we need to control these tightly.
“Some patients are prescribed paracetamol on a medium or long term basis to alleviate pain, and there is no suggestion that this should change.
“However, as paracetamol is much cheaper for individuals who buy over the counter than what the NHS is charged, it is a great help to the NHS if patients suffering from short term conditions can, where possible, purchase their own pain relief over the counter.
“I am therefore really pleased with the amount that is being saved through the continuing efforts of GPs and pharmacies in the area.”
Scottish Conservative MSP Liz Smith, who represents the Mid Scotland and Fife region, said: “I welcome the fact numbers have gone down but it is still important to point out that every pound saved is vital to help improve and invest in our Scottish NHS and the nations’ health.”