I never cease to be amazed that, however many austerity cuts we are gravely told are absolutely necessary to implement because we, as a country, are so skint, somehow they can always find millions for other projects. Roads, trains, and foreign aid all spring to mind. The new 12-sided pound coin is out today. I've just seen on the news that upgrading all the pay-phones, car-park payment machines, parking meters, vending machines, etc, to accept the new pound has cost £100M. Earlier they highlighted the NHS cuts that mean a lot of prescription items are basically being discontinued as prescription items in an effort to save millions (it could have been billions). I get it that the pharmaceautical companies are overcharging the NHS for basics like paracetamol, and obviously that's wrong and unsustainable. I do understand that. But surely the government or a monopolies commission, or someone, should be stepping in and resolving that issue of blatant profiteering? Isn't it also in part a procurement issue? If the people responsible for buying in these items said "No, it'll be cheaper for us to buy it from a supermarket, thanks", Big Pharma wouldn't be able to continue overcharging the NHS. If Big Pharma is charging Tesco 40p for a pack of paracetamol, and more than £4 to the NHS (according to my GP), then Big Pharma should be made to stop doing so. Ok, so you could argue that if the NHS stop buying these drugs (and other products) because of their overinflated prices, which is what they're trying to do by stopping them as prescription items, then BP won't be able to continue profiteering from the NHS in this way, and that can only be a good thing. But meantime, a lot of people who depend on free or subsidised prescription meds because of their illness will suffer as a result. My surgery have already stopped prescribing B6, which I used to be given for depression as I can't tolerate any anti depressant drugs, and several other items that were once on my repeats. The premise is that if you can buy it OTC, they won't actually refuse it (except that they do), but they will "actively discourage" you from asking for it on prescription. So hearing that "they" have spent £100 million -so far- on upgrading machines/ supermarket trollies, etc, for the new pound coin irks me. I get it that it will benefit everyone in the long-run because it should stop the counterfeiting that the "round pound" has been subject to, thus ultimately benefitting the economy, but still. And since the old round pound won't officially be out of circulation until October, presumably there will be still more conversion costs to meet. When so many cuts are being made to health and welfare services to the detriment of so many vulnerable people, wouldn't that 100 million quid plus have been better spent on those areas instead?