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Tuesday 25th June 2019

Diabetes prescriptions now account for 8.4% of NHS bill

25th August 2011

New data from the NHS Information Centre has revealed that prescriptions for diabetes now accounts for 8.4% of the entire NHS net bill for primary care drugs in England.


This is up from 6.6% in 2005/06 and takes the total diabetes prescribing costs for 2010/11 to £725 million.

Between 2005/06 and 2009/10, diabetes prevalence in England rose from 3.6% to 4.3% with the number of diabetes prescription items increasing by 41% to total 38.3 million items in 2010/11.

The NHS Information Centre report shows that one out of every 25 prescription items now written is for diabetes.

The total number of prescription items dispensed for diabetes treatment was 38.3 million in 2010/11, up 7.8% on the previous year’s total of 2.8 million and a 41.2% rise on the 2005/06 total of 27.1 million.

Chief executive Tim Straughan said the figures painted a picture of an "an ever-increasing drugs bill to cope with the demands of society triggered by diabetes".

He added: “This information will help people and health professionals see the impact that caring for diabetes has on NHS prescribing, and support the NHS in planning for how to best address the condition moving forward.”

Some 67.7% of prescriptions for diabetes are now anti-diabetic drugs at a net ingredient cost of £259.1 million, a 10.5% rise from 2009/10 in the number of items and a 30.6% rise in net ingredient cost.

Use of oral antidiabetic metformin rose 70.1% between 2005/6 and 2010/11, following NICE’s recommendation that metformin should be the first-choice drug for oral therapy.


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