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Diabetes drugs ‘now account for tenth of primary care prescribing bill’

The number of prescriptions for diabetes drugs has gone up nearly 75% over the past decade and now accounts for around one tenth of the NHS primary care prescribing bill, latest official figures indicate.

Over 47 million prescriptions were issued for diabetes drugs in 2014/15, at a cost of around £870m – 10% of the £8.7bn total primary care prescribing spend for the year, according to the report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

This compared with 45 million prescription items or 9.5% of the total primary care prescribing spend in 2013/14 – and 27 milliom items in 2005/06, when they made up 6.5% of the total spend.

Ian Bullard, responsible statistician for the report, said it showed ‘ten pence in the pound of the primary care prescribing bill in England is being spent on managing diabetes’.

He added: ‘Diabetes continues to be one of the most prevalent long-term conditions, and the number of patients being diagnosed with the condition is increasing each year.’


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