Diabetes drugs cost approaches £1bn per year

The net ingredient cost (NIC) of drugs for diabetes increased by £88 million in 2015/16, bringing to annual primary care prescribing spend to just shy of £1 billion at £956.7 million, equating to £2.6 million per day.

The report by NHS Digital (formerly HSCIC), also shows that in the last financial year 49.7 million prescription items were dispensed in England for the management of diabetes.

Diabetes medicines now make up 10.6 per cent of the total cost of prescribing in primary care in England, while the total annual spend on diabetes drugs has almost doubled in a decade, from £513.9 million in 2005/06 to £956.7 million today.

Since 2007/08, diabetes drugs have accounted for the highest cost of all drug sections in the British National Formulary, while the number of prescription items dispensed in this category has also increased every year since 2005/06. This is in line with a steady increase year on year in the percentage of the population receving treatment for the condition.

Analysis of the latest QOF report found that the percentage of GP patients being treated for diabetes has increased from 5.3 per cent in 2009/10 to 6.4 in 2014/15, amounting to a total of 2.9 million adults in England.

The NHS Digital report also revealed regional variations, with Newham CCG having the highest percentage prescribing spend on diabetes drugs and North Tyneside CCG having the lowest.

The three main diabetes treatment areas in 2015/16 in order of cost were antidiabetic drugs, insulin and diagnostic and monitoring devices.

 

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