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14 Aug 2012
Diabetes prescriptions top 40 million in England after 50 per cent rise in six years
Diabetes prescriptions have for the first time topped 40 million in year, a rise of nearly 50 per cent on six years ago, Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) figures show.
The net cost of diabetes drugs also rose by just under 50 per cent in the same period, according to Prescribing for Diabetes in England: 2005/06 to 2011/12.
This growth is a faster and greater than for prescriptions overall, where items increased by 33 per cent and net ingredient cost rose by just under 11 per cent in the same period.
Todays report, which focuses on primary care, shows diabetes drugs are taking up a bigger share of both total drugs dispensed and the total net cost to the NHS each year.
It also shows that while the overall cost of all drugs to the NHS fell last year by just over one per cent, the diabetes drugs bill increased by nearly five per cent.
- 40.6 million diabetes prescription items were dispensed in the community; a 6.1 per cent (2.3 million items) rise on 2010/11 and a 49.9 per cent (13.5 million items) rise on 2005/06.
- Diabetes drugs accounted for a net ingredient cost of £760.3 million, a 4.8 per cent (£35.2 million) rise on 2010/11 and a 47.9 per cent (£246.3 million) rise on 2005/06.
- Diabetes drugs accounted for 4.2 per cent of all items dispensed and 8.9 of the total net ingredient cost bill; compared to 4.1 per cent and 8.4 per cent in 2010/11, and 3.7 per cent and 6.6 per cent in 2005/06.
- Since 2007/08 diabetes drugs have accounted for the highest cost of any of the 200 sections listed within the British National Formulary, which categorises all prescribed drugs in England by section, based on therapeutic action. The diabetes section also saw the second highest rise in net ingredient cost of any section compared to 2010/11.
HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said: Our figures show diabetes is having a growing impact on prescribing in a very obvious way from the amount of prescriptions dispensed to patients in primary care to the annual drugs bill costs to the NHS.
Other reports we produce, such as our National Diabetes Audit and the Quality and Outcomes Framework, also demonstrate the impact of diabetes is widespread in all areas of the health service; from pharmacy to hospital care. When all this information is considered together, it presents a full and somewhat concerning picture of the increasing impact of this condition.
The report is at: http://www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/prescribingdiabetes0512
Notes to editors
- HSCIC was previously known as the NHS Information Centre. It is Englands authoritative, independent source of health and social care information. It works with a wide range of health and social care providers nationwide to provide the facts and figures that help the NHS and social services run effectively. Its role is to collect data, analyse it and convert it into useful information which helps providers improve their services and supports academics, researchers, regulators and policymakers in their work. The HSCIC also produces a wide range of statistical publications each year across a number of areas including: primary care, health and lifestyles, screening, hospital care, population and geography, social care and workforce and pay statistics.
- The prescribing information used in this report was obtained from the Prescribing Analysis and CosT tool (PACT) system, which covers prescriptions prescribed by GPs, nurses, pharmacists and others in England and dispensed in the community in the UK. For data at PCT level, prescriptions written by a prescriber located in a particular PCT but dispensed outside that PCT will be included in the PCT in which the prescriber is based. Prescriptions written in England but dispensed outside England are included. Prescriptions written in hospitals /clinics that are dispensed in the community, prescriptions dispensed in hospitals, dental prescribing and private prescriptions are not included in PACT data.
- The bulletin shows the headline cost (net ingredient cost) of medicines before the deduction of discount or charges paid and therefore does not represent the actual cost to the NHS, however the overall messages are very similar. Details of all items dispensed, including costs, were published in The NHS Information Centres Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) publication on April 2012.
- Prescribers write prescriptions on a prescription form. Each single item written on the form is counted as a prescription item.
- The costs in the report are not adjusted for inflation but are as at the time.
- 2005/06 is used as the base year for comparison to remain consistent with last years report and press release. 2004/05 is the first year for which data is available.
- The British National Formulary (BNF) is a joint publication of the British Medical Association and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. It is published biannually under the authority of a Joint Formulary Committee which comprises representatives of the two professional bodies and of the UK Health Departments The BNF aims to provide prescribers, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals with sound up-to-date information about the use of medicines. The BNF includes key information on the selection, prescribing, dispensing and administration of medicines. It is split into chapters by therapeutic class of drug. These notes are divided into 15 chapters, each of which is related to a particular system of the body or to an aspect of medical care. Each chapter is then divided into sections
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