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NHS reports increase in diabetes drug prescriptions

A new NHS report shows an increase in diabetes drug prescriptions. It concludes that diabetes drugs prescribed increased by 8 million since 2015/16.

NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) has just released its statistical report Prescribing for diabetes England 2015/2016 to 2020/2021.

Key findings of the report that show the increase in diabetes drug prescriptions include that in 2020/21, there have been 57.9 million drugs used in treating diabetes prescribed in England for a cost of £1.19 billion. This is 12.5% of the total spend on all prescription items prescribed in England. It is an increase from 2015/16 where 49.7 million diabetes items were prescribed for a cost of £958 million – 10.4% of the total spend.

Other key findings show there were over 3.05 million identified patients that were prescribed drugs used in diabetes in England in 2020/21. This was a 1.5% increase from 3 million identified patients in 2019/20, and a 12.7% increase from 2.70 million in 2015/16.

The most deprived areas in England have the highest number of identified patients being prescribed drugs used in treating diabetes in 2020/21.

The most common age group prescribed these drugs in 2020/21 is 70 to 74, this has increased from 2015/16 where the most common age group was 65 to 69.

In England in 2020/21, 43.1 million antidiabetic drug items were prescribed at a cost of £686 million. The costs of antidiabetic drugs have increased by 62% since 2015/16 from £423 million.

For more information on prescribing for diabetes and the increase in diabetes drug prescriptions, you can read the NHSBSA’s new report.

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Emma Morriss
Emma is Head of Marketing Operations at E4H.


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