Diabetes drug prescriptions rises eight million since 2015, NHS report says


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Nearly 60 million drugs were used to treat people with diabetes in England last year, increasing eight million since 2015-16, a report by the NHS revealed.

The latest data released by the NHS Business Service Authority (NHSBSA) showed that 57.9 million drugs were prescribed during 2020-21, costing the exchequer £1.19 billion. It accounted for 12.5 per cent of the total spend on all prescription items.

The data showed a steep increase from 2015-16, where 49.7 million diabetes items were prescribed for a cost of £958 million, accounting for 10.4 per cent of the total spend.

The study entitled ‘Prescribing for diabetes England 2015-2016 to 2020-2021’, also found that there were over 3.05 million identified patients, who were prescribed diabetes drugs, against 3 million patients in 2019-20, and 2.70 million in 2015-16.

It further revealed that most people who were prescribed drugs for diabetes last year lived in deprived areas.

The most common age group among the patients in 2020-21 was 70 to 74, higher than 65 to 69 registered in 2015-16.

Besides, cost of antidiabetic drugs increased by 62 per cent from £423m in 2015-16 to £686m last year.

In 2020-21, 43.1 million antidiabetic drug items were prescribed.

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


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