Human analogue insulins 'driving up diabetes drugs bill'
Increasing use of newer diabetes medicines – including human analogue insulins - is driving up the cost of diabetes care, new NHS figures show.
Data on primary care prescribing published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre shows that 42.5m items were prescribed for diabetes in the financial year 2012/13 at a net ingredient cost of £764.1m.
This was a 4.7% (1.9m) rise in the number of items - from 40.6 million in 2011/12 - and a 0.5% (£3.8m) rise in the net ingredient cost, from £760.3m in 2011/12.
By comparison, overall prescribing costs fell by 3.9% between 2011/12 and 2012/13, the report said.
The which covers prescribing by GPs, nurses, pharmacists and others working in primary care said: ‘These trends are driven by a number of factors, including the increasing prevalence of diabetes, greater use of newer and more expensive medicines, particularly human analogue insulins and more recently introduced oral antidiabetic drugs, and changes in the costs of category M medicines and Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme.’
The new data follow research in 2011 suggesting the NHS could have saved up to £625m by using human insulin more widely.
The UK authors of a called for GPs to consider switching patients with with type 2 diabetes from synthetic insulin saying synthetic insulin had become increasingly popular due to successful marketing campaigns and despite it being more expensive and only having ‘modest benefits’ over human insulin.