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Diabetes accounts for 10% of English drugs budget

Diabetes prescription cost have risen by 66% in last decade official figures say

Mark Gould

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Diabetes now accounts for 10% of the NHS drugs bill in England, according to official figures.

A report by the Health and Social Care Information Centre shows £869m was spent on drugs for the disease last year - £2.2m every day.

It marks a 66.5% rise from the £514m being spent on the drugs a decade ago, when they accounted for just 6.6% of the prescriptions budget.

The figures include drugs for both type-1 and type-2 diabetes, which affect 2.8 million people in England.

Last year, more than 45 million prescriptions for insulin, metformin and other anti-diabetic drugs as well as monitoring devices were handed out to patients in England - an 18m rise on a decade ago.

The report found:

  • In 2014/15 there were 47.2 million items prescribed for diabetes (BNF section 6.1) at a net ingredient cost of £868.6 million.
  • In 2014/15 prescribing for diabetes accounted for 4.5 per cent of total items prescribed and 10.0 per cent of the total cost of all prescribing.
  • In 2014/15 there were 6.7 million items of insulin prescribed (BNF 6.1.1), at a net ingredient cost of £334.7 million.
  • In 2014/15 there were 33.4 million items prescribed for antidiabetic drugs (BNF 6.1.2), representing 70.8 per cent of all items for diabetes, at a net ingredient cost of £350.2 million.
  • Since 2005/06, antidiabetic drugs items prescribed have increased by 107.0 per cent and net ingredient cost by 138.6 per cent.

Ian Bullard, from the HSCIC, who wrote the report, said: "It shows that 10p in the pound of the primary care prescribing bill in England is being spent on managing diabetes.

"Diabetes continues to be one of the most prevalent long-term conditions, and the number of patients being diagnosed with the condition is increasing each year."

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