The cost of prescriptions to NHS Tayside has surged by around £12 million over five years, according to new figures.
The figures – which came to light in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) submitted to the health board – include both medicines prescribed within general practice, and those prescribed and administered within hospitals.
In 2015/16, NHS Tayside spent £135,839,000 on patients’ prescriptions.
By 2019/20, this figure had risen to £147,539,00.
NHS Tayside says the rise in prescription spending – which has been seen in healthboards across Scotland – is due to a number of reasons.
A spokesperson said: “NHS Tayside, as with other Boards across Scotland, has seen an increasing cost for medicines for both primary and secondary care in recent years.
“This is due to a range of factors, such as a rise in prescriptions as a result of the ageing population, rising costs of existing drugs and the availability of new medicines.
“NHS Tayside has developed a medicines governance infrastructure that supports the safe, clinically effective and cost effective use of medicines.
“This system ensures that newly developed medicines are available for our local population.”
NHS Tayside is urging patients to be mindful of their medication use and only order prescriptions when necessary.
The spokesperson added: “Patients across Tayside are also encouraged to reduce unused and wasted medicines.
“Sometimes patients or carers order repeat prescriptions they don’t really need and stockpile them at home.
“This can lead to huge amounts of medicines being wasted.
“Having a medicines review with their GP can help to make sure patients are still receiving the most appropriate medication for their condition.”
The rising cost of prescriptions has been branded “concerning”, particularly amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Scottish Conservative MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife, Alexander Stewart said: “It is concerning to see such a rise in the cost of prescriptions over recent years, given the extraordinary pressures our NHS is facing.
“Those financial pressures were stark prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and will only be far greater now.
“Many drugs such as paracetamol and aspirin are far cheaper to purchase over the counter and we cannot allow these bills to spiral out of control for NHS Tayside.”
But SNP MSP for Perthshire South and Kinross-shire believes the figures justify the Scottish government’s decision to scrap prescription charges for patients.
She said: “What these figures indicate is the massive benefit that the Scottish Government’s decision to scrap prescription charges has brought to a great many people across Tayside.”