The Editorial Executive Committee welcomes letters, which should be less than 250 words. Before a decision to publish is made, letters which refer to a published article may be sent to the author for a response. Any letter may be sent to an expert for comment. When letters are published, they are usually accompanied in the same issue by their responses or comments. The Committee screens out discourteous, inaccurate or libellous statements. The letters are sub-edited before publication. Authors are required to declare any conflicts of interest. The Committee's decision on publication is final.

Letter to the editor

Editor, -The recent editorial on 'Prescription drug subsidies in Australia and New Zealand' (Aust Prescr 2010;33:2-4) reveals striking differences between the two countries in expenditure on prescription drugs. This is attributed in part to the New Zealand policy of exclusive contracts for supply of off-patent medications being awarded through competitive tender. The cost savings are obvious enough, but an additional benefit of this system is to make the generic brand instantly recognisable both for prescribers and consumers. The proliferation of generic brands in Australia, by contrast, leads to a great deal of confusion for patients. This often dissuades doctors from prescribing generic brands, at great cost to the health system.

Lachlan Brown
General practitioner/Anaesthetist
Batehaven, NSW

First published online 1 June 2010