Prescription costs for medicines dispensed in the community in England have risen for the third year in a row, with atorvastatin the most commonly prescribed drug.
In 2021/22, the NHS spent £9.69 billion on prescription items in the community, an increase of £83.7 million or 0.87% from the previous year and 8.35% since 2014/15 the figures from the NHS Business Services Authority show.
The data also shows an increase in the number of prescription items dispensed, rising by 2.58% to 1.14 billion.
Atorvastatin was the most prescribed drug with more than 53 million items dispensed but apixaban was the most expensive at a cost of £401 million.
Under the updated 2022/23 PCN contract, GPs are being incentivised to prescribe or switch patients with atrial fibrillation to edoxaban.
The biggest change in cost was for FreeStyle Libre 2 Sensor kits which was added to the drug tariff in 2020 with the NHS now spending £69.8 million a year on the technology.
The approach should become the norm and also include some patients with type 2 diabetes, NICE had ruled.
NHS England had confirmed the devices would be rolled out across the country with more than 250,000 people to be offered the technology.
Recent rises on spending on prescription items dispensed in the community followed three years of falling costs between 2015/16 and 2018/19, the NHSBSA said.
Cardiovascular medicines account for the largest proportion of all costs at 1.62 billion.
The figures also showed a small drop in the proportion of prescription items prescribed generically at 84.3% compared with 84.8% the previous year.