Prescription medicines on a pharmacy shelf

Prescription costs for England published by the NHS

The annual Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) includes information about the costs and volumes of prescriptions that have been dispensed in England.

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) has published the official 2023/24 statistics.

The key findings showed that:

  • The cost of prescription items dispensed in the community was £10.9 billion, a 5% increase from £10.4 billion in 2022/23.
  • The number of prescription items dispensed in the community was 1.21 billion, a 3% increase from 1.18 billion in 2022/23.
  • Atorvastatin (a statin medication) was the most dispensed drug in England with 65 million items, whilst Beclometasone Dipropionate (a steroid medication) was the drug with the highest cost of £320 million.
  • Forxiga 10mg tablets (an antidiabetic drug) had the largest increase in cost from 2022/23, with an absolute increase of £90 million.

Amongst other analysis, the Prescription Cost Analysis report also includes the top 10 most dispensed drugs by costs and items in England, and comparisons with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

This publication is a National Statistic release. National Statistics status means that the Prescription Cost Analysis meets the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality, and public value and complies with all aspects of the Code of Practice for Statistics.

For the full report, go to:

Contact Information

Laura Driver

Media and Campaigns Officer

NHS Business Services Authority

Notes to editors

  • These statistics are based on the financial year and not on the calendar year as some other sources of data may be.
  • Prescription ‘items’ refers to individual drugs or inhalers etc on a prescription form, however a ‘prescription’ can include multiple medicines on it.
  • These medicines are classified by their main usage. However, they can sometimes be prescribed for other reasons. For example, some antidepressants can be used to treat people suffering from chronic primary pain. We don’t capture this at NHSBSA during processing, and so can’t determine the reason that a prescription was issued. Due to this, these statistics may not give a completely accurate estimation of the population receiving treatment for a specific mental health condition. Drug therapy is just one way that mental health conditions can be treated. These statistics do not tell us how many patients access other forms of treatment, such as psychological therapy.

There are further explanations on terminology within the report.