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December 31, 1949

Current Comment

JAMA. 1949;141(18):1301-1302. doi:10.1001/jama.1949.02910180029009

FREE MEDICINE? NOT IN ENGLAND  Although Great Britain's National Health Service Act has been ballyhooed as a source of "free medicine" for those in Great Britain and practically all visitors, a tremendous financial toll already has been exacted. In fact, the cost has far exceeded the original amount set aside for the provisions of this act. It was inevitable that sooner or later someone would have to admit that "free" medicine per se is impossible and that such a scheme as was proposed under the National Health Service Act is an expensive procedure for which the public must pay sooner or later. One of the features of this plan was the provision of medicines without charge. However, Health Minister Aneurin Bevan has had to admit that economy is necessary and that patients must from now on pay for part of their prescriptions. All except old age pensioners must pay the