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Atorvastatin named most dispensed drug in England in 2021/22

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Atorvastatin was the most dispensed drug in England in 2021/22 with 53.4 million items, revealed the annual Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) published by NHS Business Services Authority.

According to the official statistics, Apixaban (an anticoagulant) was the drug with the highest cost of £401 million.

The statistics revealed that the cost of prescription items dispensed in the community in England was £9.69 billion, a 0.87 per cent increase of £83.7 million from £9.61 billion in 2020/21.

“The number of prescription items dispensed in the community in England was 1.14 billion, a 2.58 per cent increase of 28.7 million items from 1.11 billion in 2020/21.”

FreeStyle Libre 2 Sensor kit (a glucose monitoring system) was the presentation with the largest absolute increase in cost between 2020/21 and 2021/22 of £69.8 million, from £2.84 million to £72.6 million.

In 2021/22, 84.3 per cent of prescription items were prescribed generically, the data revealed. The rate of generic prescribing has remained consistent during the period, showing 1.1 percentage points of variation between 2014/15 and 2021/22.

In 2021/22, generic prescribing accounted for 60.6 per cent of the total cost of reimbursement, the lowest rate of the reporting period. This was a 2.50 percentage point decrease from 2020/21, and a 7.40 percentage point decrease from a high of 68 per cent in 2014/15.

The proportion of costs that generic prescribing accounts for have shown greater variation of 7.40 percentage points over the period. The proportion of costs for generic prescribing increased for three consecutive years between 2018/19 and 2020/21.

Among other analysis the Prescription Cost Analysis the top 10 most dispensed drugs in England and comparisons across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland were Atorvastatin, Omeprazole, Levothyroxine sodium, Amlodipine, Ramipril, Bisoprolol fumarate, Colecalciferol, Metformin hydrochloride, and Salbutamol.

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