Prescriptions rise and average cost falls, figures show

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15th July 2015 12:02 - Pharmaceutical

Recent figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre has shown that the amount of prescriptions released in England during Prescriptions rise and average cost falls, figures show2014 increased by 3.3 per cent / 34.5 million items. The rise has been attributed to the growing use of antidepressants, Viagra, blood thinners and diabetes medicine.

The research found that the total net ingredient cost of prescriptions was £8.85 billion, which signifies a surge of £227.5 million / 2.6 per cent since 2013.

In 2013, the average net ingredient cost per item fell from £8.37 to £8.32 – a continuation of the decrease which has been happening over the last ten years. A decade ago, the net ingredient cost per item was around 30 per cent more expensive.

The figures also show a prominent increase in the cost of prescriptions used to keep blood clots at bay. The increase stands at around £44.8million / 47.8 per cent. The surge has been attributed to the entrance of 3 new oral anticoagulants on the market.

As well as this, atorvastatin - which is used to help decrease the chance of having a heart attack or stroke – also saw its highest increase in the number of prescriptions dispensed, with an increase of 4 million since 2013.

When looking at diabetes medicines, it was found that the amount of money spent on the drugs was up 7 per cent at £849.1 million, although, the HSCIC pointed out that the number of prescriptions dispensed for diabetes had grown by 2.1 million / 4.8 per cent since 2013.

When it came to antidepressants, it was found that there were 57.1 million antidepressant drugs dispensed last year (2014), which indicates an increase of 7.2 per cent since 2013. This year the amount of prescriptions dispensed from depression is 97.1 per cent higher than it was in 2004.

Prescriptions for sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, surged to 1.7 million – a jump of 21.4 per cent, as cheaper generics have entered the market.

The figures also showed that 957.1 million / 89.9 per cent of prescriptions were dispensed free. Of this number, approximately 60 per cent were picked up by individuals over the age of 60, which makes up 51.2 per cent / £4.53 billion of the overall net ingredient cost.

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