NHS publishes statistics on diabetes prescriptions

NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) has published ‘Prescribing for Diabetes – England 2015/16 to 2021/22’ statistics this morning [11 August 2022].

Key findings showed that there are more men than women who received drugs used in treating diabetes. They also showed there has been an increase in patients receiving these drugs overall and those in deprived areas were most affected.

Here are the key findings below:

  • In 2021/22, there were 60.3 million drug items used in treating diabetes prescribed in England for a cost of £1.25 billion. This was 13% of the total spend on all prescription items prescribed in England. It was an increase from 2015/16 where 49.7 million diabetes items were prescribed in England for a cost of £958 million, representing 10.4% of the total spend on all prescription items.
  • Antidiabetic drugs were the most prescribed drugs used in treating diabetes in England in 2021/22 with 45.3 million items at a cost of £746 million. The costs of antidiabetic drugs have increased by 76.1% since 2015/16 from £423 million.
  • There were 3.20 million identified patients that were prescribed drugs used in diabetes in England in 2021/22. This was a 4.95% increase from 3.05 million identified patients in 2020/21, and an 18.2% increase from 2.70 million in 2015/16.
  • The most common group to receive prescribing for drugs used in diabetes in 2021/22 was male patients aged 60 to 64 with 232,000 identified patients. The next most common groups were male patients aged 70 to 74 and then male patients 65 to 69.
  • Areas of greater deprivation had the highest number of identified patients who were being prescribed drugs used in treating diabetes in 2021/22, with two and a half times as many patients receiving prescribing from practices in the most deprived areas of the country compared to the least deprived.

To read the full report go to: https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/statistical-collections/prescribing-diabetes-england/prescribing-diabetes-england-201516-202122

Contact Information

Sahdia Hassen

Senior Media and Campaigns Officer

NHS Business Services Authority


Notes to editors

  • There are patients who may be treating their diabetes by diet alone who are therefore not included in this data. Or who are taking a drug used in diabetes to treat a different condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). So, these medicines are classified by their main usage but they can sometimes be prescribed for other reasons.
  • Prescription ‘items’ refer to individual drugs or inhalers etc. on a prescription form, however a ‘prescription form’ 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.
  • For an explanation of ‘identified patients’ please see the introduction of the report.