The cost of prescriptions report published

The cost of prescriptions report from NHS Digital

The cost of prescriptions dispensed in the community and the number of items dispensed during the 2018 calendar year has been published by NHS Digital.

The Prescription Cost Analysis, England 2018, report details the number of items and the Net Ingredient Cost (NIC) of all prescriptions dispensed in the community in England.

This includes all items dispensed by the NHS, except those dispensed in hospitals or on private prescriptions.

The NIC is the basic price of a drug excluding VAT and doesn’t consider any discounts applied.

This report provides a national overview of prescriptions dispensed during 2018 and includes 10-year trend data broken down into British National Formulary (BNF) chapter, section, sub paragraph, chemical and preparations.

The majority of prescriptions are written by GPs and non-medical prescribers such as nurses and pharmacists in England. The remainder are written by dentists and hospital doctors and are published in this data provided they were dispensed in the community.

Prescriptions written in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man are only included if they are dispensed in England. Prescriptions written in England but dispensed outside England are not included.

Key facts in the NHS Digital report on the cost of prescriptions are:

  • In 2018, the cost of prescriptions dispensed in the community was £8.8 billion. A decrease of 3.7% (£336.6 million) from £9.2 billion in 2017
  • In 2018, 1.1 billion prescription items were dispensed in the community. An increase of 0.3% (2.9 million) from 1.1 billion in 2017.