Image of syringe, pills and phials of insulin-like liquid.

NHS report shows diabetes drugs prescribed increased by 16 million since 2015/16

NHS Business Services Authority’s (NHSBSA) ‘Prescribing for Diabetes 2015/16 to 2022/23’ statistical report shows that in 2022/23, there were 66 million drug items used in treating diabetes prescribed in England for a cost of £1.53 billion, 15% of the total spend on all prescription items prescribed in England.

This was an increase of 16 million items and £570 million from 2015/16 where 50 million diabetes items were prescribed in England for a cost of £960 million, representing 10% of the total spend on all prescription items.

Antidiabetic drugs were the most prescribed drugs used in treating diabetes in England in 2022/23 with 49 million items at a cost of £880 million. The costs of antidiabetic drugs have also increased by 107% since 2015/16 from £420 million.

There were 3.4 million identified patients that were prescribed drugs used in diabetes in England in 2022/23. This was a 6% increase from 3.2 million identified patients in 2021/22, and a 26% increase from 2.7 million in 2015/16.

The most common group to receive prescribing for drugs used in diabetes in 2022/23 were male patients, aged 60 to 64, with 250,000 identified patients. The next most common groups were male patients aged 65 to 69, and male patients aged 70 to 74.

Areas of greater deprivation had the highest number of identified patients who were being prescribed drugs used in treating diabetes in 2022/23. There were 320,000 more patients in the most deprived areas of the country, compared to the least deprived.

To read the full report visit:

Contact Information

Sahdia Hassen

Senior Media and Campaigns Officer

NHS Business Services Authority

Notes to editors



A single unit of medication listed separately on a prescription form. In this publication, an example of an item would be Fluoxetine 20mg tables x56.


The Net Ingredient Cost (NIC) is the basic price of the medication and the quantity prescribed. It does not include other fees incurred by dispensing contractors, such as controlled drug fees or the single activity fee. The basic price is determined by the Drug Tariff or by the manufacturer, wholesaler, or supplier of the product.


A unique NHS number captured from a prescription form or electronic prescription service (EPS) message.