TaxPayers’ Alliance criticises £67 million wasteful subsidy to pharmacists 

The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has criticised the £67 million subsidy given to pharmacists for Medicine Use Reviews (MURs), which many GPs regard as a waste of money.

The reviews encourage pharmacists to spot any overlaps or interactions between medicines being taken by patients. They are also intended to reduce drug waste but a recent academic study saw GPs call their effectiveness into question, saying they “were, by and large, viewed as a waste of time and money.”

The key findings of this report are: 

  • Pharmacists are paid £28 for each review by the NHS. National chains like Boots, Tesco and Asda have many branches and make millions a year by carrying out MURs.
  • There is no specific time given to perform a MUR, but a small survey of pharmacists suggests that it takes between 5 and 15 minutes, which means the pharmacist is effectively being paid between £112 and £336 an hour.
  • Average funding to a GP, for a patient on their list for a whole year, is £64.59. A pharmacist gets almost half of this just for performing a single MUR.
  • Each pharmacy branch is allowed to perform a maximum of 400 MURs each year, for a total revenue of £11,200. The total revenue for national chains can be much higher, as they have many branches nationwide.
Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“These Medicine Use Reviews are incredibly expensive and achieving very little. The Government should act to reduce the cost of MURs rather than continuing with a system that encourages national chains to try and squeeze as much money out of taxpayers as possible, to pay for reviews that most doctors don’t think represent good value.”

Media contacts

For broadcast interviews or further enquiries, please contact:
Emma Boon
Campaign Director, The TaxPayers' Alliance
07795 084 113
Robert Oxley
Campaign Manager, The TaxPayers' Alliance
07795 084 113

Notes to editors

1. Established in 2004 and now with 65,000 supporters, the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) is Britain’s independent, grassroots campaign for lower taxes and better government. Find out more about the TaxPayers' Alliance at
2. The full report can be found here:
Facebook Twitter Email YouTube Flickr RSS