The cost of prescription items dispensed in England in 2020-21 was £9.61 billion, a 3.49 per cent increase of £324 million from £9.28 billion in the previous year.

“This is the second consecutive year that the cost of items dispensed in England has increased following three consecutive years of decreases between 2015-16 and 2018-19,” the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) said as it published its annual prescription cost analysis (PCA) today (June 10).

The number of prescription items dispensed was 1.11 billion, a 1.90 per cent decrease of 21.5 million items from 1.13 billion in 2019-20.

Atorvastatin, a ‘statin’ mainly used in lowering cholesterol in people suffering from high blood cholesterol or in prevention of heart disease, was found to be the most dispensed drug in England in 2020-21 with 49.9 million items.

Apixaban, an anticoagulant to prevent blood clots, was the drug with highest cost of £356 million.

Sertraline 100 mg (an antidepressant) tablet was the presentation with the “largest increase in cost between 2019-20 and 2020-21 of £78.9 million, from £21.0 million to £99.9 million.”

As per the analysis, the cost of Sertraline increased by 376 per cent between 2019-20 and 2020-21, while the number of items prescribed increased by 7.51 per cent.

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