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More inWhite Papers  

a green cross imageJuly 2 2018

Annual prescription data for England shows that the average net ingredient cost of £8.29 was at its lowest in over 10 years in 2017.

There were 1,105,810,873 items dispensed in 2017 with a Net Ingredient Cost of £9,167,242,625. While the prescription volume was up 0.2% from the 1,104,131,794 dispensed in 2016, the NIC fell below the 2016 value of £9,204,891,304, a decrease of 0.4%.

The data published by NHS Digital includes figures from the past decade. Prescription volume has grown steadily in that time from 796,298,021 in 2007, when NIC was £8,372,667,329. Total NIC peaked in 2015 at £9,266,676,092.

Generic prescribing in 2017 was at its lowest since 2012 at 83.7% compared to the high of 84.1% in 2014 and 2015.

The most commonly prescribed drugs were:

Drug with largest item volume No items dispensed in 2017  No items in 2016
Atorvastatin 37,342,946 32,321,934
Levothyroxine sodium 31,523,194 30,852,795
Omeprazole 31,098,949 30,905,987
Ramipril 27,917,683 27,447,773
Amlodipine 27,738,391 26,639,873
Simvastatin 27,222,816 30,625,470
Aspirin 24,850,635 26,480,236
Lansoprazole 24,674,821 23,893,694
Colecalciferol 22,890,918 21,568,702
Bisoprolol fumarate 22,366,401 21,033,554
Salbutamol 21,998,457 22,277,372

The drugs with the greatest NIC were

Drug by highest NIC  Total NIC in 2017 (£) Total NIC in 2016 (£)
Fluticasone propionate inhaler 271,942,747 323,616,732
Enteral nutrition 258,274,198 257,196,705
Pregabalin 215,615,698 314,695,257
Beclometasone dipropionate 208,763,160 174,231,782
Budesonide 182,447,367 192,721,425
Glucose blood testing reagents 175,727,365 180,058,799
Rivaroxaban 161,307,500 121,130,897
Tiotropium 160,505,549 184,176,609
Apixaban 150,397,309 84,418,170
Other food for special diet preparations 104,880,477 103,633,798
Colecalciferol 94,266,022 95,107,511
Sitagliptin 92,976,422 91,640,993
Metformin Hydrochloride 90,825,310 98,617,317

Links:
NHS Digital announcement       
NHS Digital ‘Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community – Statistics for England, 2007-2017’        

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