Scotland sees annual NIC increase 6.9% to £1.3bn
June 29 2016
Annual prescription data indicates that the Net Ingredient Cost for dispensing in Scotland increased 6.9% to £1.3 billion in 2015-16. It means NIC reimbursed has increased by 28% over the past decade.
In terms of volume, 102.2 million items were reimbursed in the past year, a 1.1% increase compared to 2014-15, but also representing a 28.1% increase in the past 10 years. However, the rate of increase has slowed in recent years, said NHS Scotland’s Information Services Division. It has published the annual figures in the ‘Prescribing & Medicines: Dispensing Reimbursement, Remuneration and Volume’ report.
Gross Ingredient Cost increased 8.6% to £1.1 billion. ISD said that the rise was due partly to price adjustments and to the introduction of new medicines, but also due to the move of some high cost treatments from hospitals into primary care.
“Some of these medicines have a high cost per item which contributes to an increase in the overall NIC reimbursed to dispensing contractors in recent financial years. Other factors, such as price adjustments for items with supply issues and the adoption of novel agents such as Direct Acting Oral Anticoagulants (DOACs), also contribute to the observed increase in cost per item,” said IDS.
Overall, costs for service remuneration increased by £4.9 million or 2.4%, from £208.5 million in 2014-15 to £213.4 million in 2015-16. It means the proportion of NIC in the gross cost figure has increased slightly, from 82.5% to 83.2%. “The amount spent on remuneration of service rose by 2.4% between 2014-15 and 2015-16, while NIC increased by 7.7%.”
There is a degree of variation between NHS Boards in terms of the number of prescription items dispensed per head of population. The average across Scotland was 10.0 items per person in 2015-16, but ranged from 14.7 items per person in NHS Lothian to 25.2 items per person in NHS Western Isles.
Average total net cost per head of population varied less, with four NHS Boards being within 1% of the Scottish average cost per person. “This may result from a shared aim of spending efficiently. Further, only five NHS Boards have an average cost over that of the Scottish average of £237.75, but together these five Boards represent approximately half the Scottish population (2.7 million out of 5.4 million). These are not necessarily the same NHS Boards that had a higher than average number of items per person. For example, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde had the highest cost per person, but was the seventh highest for items per person.”
The data also shows that there were 1,225 pharmacies providing NHS dispensing services in 2015-16.
Source: ISD Scotland National Statistics: ‘Prescribing & Medicines: Dispensing Reimbursement, Remuneration and Volume - Financial Year 2015/16’