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Thursday 20th June 2019

Prescriptions soar by 70%

28th July 2011

The annual prescription bill in Britain has soared to almost £9 billion pounds.


The figures, from the NHS Information Centre, reveal that more prescription drugs than ever are being given out with the amount dispensed having jumped by nearly 70% in the last decade.

Experts have denied Britain is over-dependent on drugs with an ageing population and more preventive prescribing highlighted as a reason behind the increase, though some have suggested medicines are being wasted by patients.

Diabetes is the most common condition, costing £173m in England last year with a 75% increase in type 2 diabetes in four years.

The highest number of drugs dispensed last year was for heart conditions, followed by painkillers and cholesterol-busting drugs including statins.

Figures show that more than seven million people currently rely on statins, compared to two million four years ago, and there were 41 million prescriptions for anti-depressants, though only 600,000 referrals for therapy.

Katherine Murphy of the Patients Association said they were concerned that with consultation times being so short, rather than being able to tackle the problems patients have, doctors may be simply prescribing medicines.

Mike Holden, chief executive of the National Pharmacy Association, said that too often drugs were not actually helping patients and there was a huge amount of waste.

For every person in England, an average of 17.8 prescription items were dispensed in the year, compared with 17.1 in 2009 and 11.2 in 2000. The average cost per head was £169 in 2010, compared with £165 in 2009 and £113 in 2000.


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lawrence roper

Thursday 28th July 2011 @ 9:59

Use of Anti depressants is hardly surprising considering the amount of people who have lost jobs and homes recently. As for Diabetes how much of it is caused by the cheap unhealthy junk that is masquerading as food on the shelves of our supermarkets?Most families have to have both parents working just to make ends meet, so it's pretty obvious that there is little time to prepare healthy meals. 'Ready meals' made from the cheapest possible ingredients are becoming the norm in most households. Perhaps instead of constantly complaining about the cost of health care the government should tackle the food industry and get them to clean up their act.

Alexandra Massey

Thursday 28th July 2011 @ 10:40

41 million prescriptions for anti-depressants is unbelievable and even more so when we know they don't actually cure depression because there's no absolute evidence.

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