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Tuesday 22nd May 2018

NHS spending too much on diabetes

26th July 2010

Diabetes drugs account for 7% of the UK prescribing budget, which is too much according to researchers.

Drugs & Money

The team from Cardiff University has concluded that with rates of diabetes expected to rise, the NHS must get the budget under control.

It also suggests the rise in diabetes over the past few years does not fully explain the spiralling costs.

Figures published by the researchers in the Clinical Pharmacist journal show in 2008 the NHS spent £700m on drugs to control blood sugar and that between 2000 and 2008 the number of prescriptions for glucose-lowering drugs had risen by 50%.

However, the costs soared by 104%, even taking inflation into consideration.

The Cardiff team fear guidelines laid down by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence that recommends lifestyle changes as a first-step in controlling type 2 diabetes before drug treatment is started are not being followed.

Researcher Dr Chris Currie said: "Somebody has got to take a lead in managing the way we treat people with diabetes and making sure doctors adhere to the recommendations.

"This is going to continue to rise and part of the issue is people don't realise how big the problem is."

However, the charity Diabetes UK rejected the authors’ conclusions stating the job of GPs was to get blood sugar levels as low as possible by whatever means possible to prevent complications in their patients.

"They have not looked at the health economics, we are saving the NHS money in the long run", said the charity’s Dr Niti Pall.


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