The system for approving new drugs for the NHS is bureaucratic, deeply flawed and could cost lives, according to a Labour MSP.
Dr Richard Simpson said his constituents are confused by the processes of the approval of new medicines for prescription by doctors.
The system sees the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) issues advice on all new licensed medicines, which health boards use to recommend drugs for their area. Doctors then decide what to prescribe to their patients.
The SMC was set up to provide a single source of advice and to help NHS Scotland plan fast and uniform introduction of beneficial treatments across the country.
Dr Simpson said that while the system may work at SMC level, it is "deeply flawed" across the country's 14 health boards with variation in the drugs available to patients with the same illness or condition, depending on where they live.
"We've got multiple layers of bureaucracy before patients actually receive the medicines," he said. "What my constituents are saying to me is: if I live in Tayside I get one drug and if I live in Forth Valley I get another drug. My doctor tells me he would like to prescribe the drug my colleague gets in Tayside but he can't because it is so bureaucratic and difficult and he'll be under such pressure that there is no point in him pursuing it.
"The consistency we have across Scotland is: if you have you heart attack in the west, you'll get your drug; if you're in the east, you won't. For my constituents it is confusing. We have a system that is deeply flawed at that level."
Dr Simpson gave the example of the drug Brilique. It was given general approval by the SMC in April last year but is still not available to patients across Scotland.
"The evidence given to the SMC was that this would save 200 lives each year. So one reaches the inevitable conclusion that the delays of a year or even 15 months in the approval of this drug, because of the bureaucratic process, has actually cost 200 Scots their lives," he said.
The issues surrounding the approval process for newly licensed medicines is under scrutiny at Holyrood's Health Committee.