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Umesh Modi is a chartered accountant, and Pamini Jatheeskumar is a chartered certified accountant at Silver Levene...
  Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead...
Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
More inWhite Papers  

A Resized Pharmacy Image cbNovember 10 2017

The number of prescriptions dispensed in England in a year has passed the 1 billion mark for the first time. 

Data from NHS Digital says that there were 1,015.6 million items dispensed, up 2.0% from the 995.3 million items in 2015-16, and up 39.9% since 2007-08. In addition, appliance contractors dispensed 8.5 million items in 2016-17, and dispensing doctor practices dispensed 84.9 million items. 

Pharmacy numbers also increased to 11,699 in England in 2016-17, up 11 or 0.1% from the previous year, but a 13.5% increase from 2007-08. Of the total number of community pharmacies, 4,434 were independents in 2016-17, a fall of 0.3% from the previous year. The number of dispensing appliance contractors was 111, an increase of 0.9%.

The total amount of dispensing fees received in 2016-17 was £1,032.7 million, up 2.0% on the previous year, and averaging 88,270 dispensing fees per pharmacy. Average net ingredient cost (NIC) fell from £8.13 in 2015-16 to £7.87 in 2016-17, continuing the downward trend over the decade, from an average NIC of £9.89 in 2007-08.

NHS Digital says the fall in average NIC is due to a number of factors:

  • the Medicines Margin Survey resulting in adjustments to Category M generic drug reimbursement prices as agreed under the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework;
  • an increase in generic dispensing rates (due to patent expiry and loss of exclusivity for a number of leading branded drugs) and the continued efforts to promote generic prescribing where clinically appropriate;
  • the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS), which has resulted in a reduction in branded drug.

In addition, the data highlights the level of Advanced Services provision as follows:

2016-17 data

Advanced service (provider)

Number of claims No providing service
Medicines Use Reviews (pharmacies) 3.4 million 11,244
New Medicine Services (pharmacies) 872,296 9.972
National Influenza Adult Vaccination Services (pharmacies) 950,765 8,451
Appliance Use Reviews (pharmacies+ DAC) 43,453 179
Stoma Appliance Customisation (pharmacies+ DAC) 1.3 million 1,809

Links:
NHS Digital announcement       
NHS Digital ‘General Pharmaceutical Services: England 2007/08 to 2016/17’      

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