NHS publishes report on prescription costs in England
NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) has today published its annual statistics report ‘Prescription Cost Analysis - England 2022/23’.
The report shows that in 2022/23, 1.18 billion prescription items were dispensed in the community in England at a cost of £10.4 billion. This was an 8% increase from £9.69 billion in 2021/22.
Compared to 2014/15, the cost has increased by 17% or £1.48 billion. This marks the fourth year in a row where the cost of items dispensed has increased, after seeing a decrease in the previous three years from 2015/16 to 2018/19.
The report also shows the number of drugs and medical devices (such as blood glucose monitors) dispensed in the community in England increased by 3% to 1.18 billion, from 1.14 billion in 2021/22. Compared to 2014/15, this number has increased by 10%.
The most dispensed drug in England in 2022/23 was Atorvastatin (a medicine to treat high blood cholesterol), with 59 million items, while Apixaban (an anticoagulant) was the drug with the highest costs of £430 million.
Apixaban 5mg tablets had the largest increase in cost between 2021/22 and 2022/23 in England, with an increase of £280 million.
Notes to editors
Prescription ‘items’ refer to individual drugs or inhalers etc on a prescription form, however a ‘prescription’ can include multiple medicines on it.
These statistics are based on the financial year and not on the calendar year as some other sources of data may be.
Net ingredient cost (NIC) is used here and it is the basic cost of a drug as used in primary care. This is the cost at list price excluding VAT, i.e. the price listed in the national Drug Tariff or in standard price lists and is not necessarily the price the NHS paid. The total cost to NHS commissioners is known as ‘actual cost’ in primary care data.
When a prescription is ‘dispensed in the community’, it means that it was dispensed at a pharmacy, by an appliance contractor, dispensing doctor, or as a personally administered item (not hospitals or prisons etc). If a prescription item has been prescribed in England but dispensed elsewhere in the United Kingdom, it has not been included in these statistics.
There are further explanations on terminology within the report.
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