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Diabetes costs increase for NHS

Drugs to treat diabetes cost the NHS in England £725m in 2010/11, an increase of 41.1 per cent from the 2005/06 period

Drugs to treat diabetes cost the NHS in England £725m in 2010/11, an increase of 41.1 per cent from the 2005/06 period.

Diabetes prescriptions now account for 8.4 per cent of the NHS bill for primary care drugs, compared to 6.6 per cent in 2005/06, according to a report from the NHS Information Centre,

This follows an increase in diagnosed incidents of diabetes in England, increasing from 1.89 million people in 2005/06 to 2.34 million people in 2009/10. This is 4.3 per cent of the country's population.

The total number of items prescribed was also up significantly in the five-year period, increasing 41.2 per cent to 38.3 million.

Of these items, 14.6 million were prescriptions for metformin, a drug used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Prescriptions for the drug increased 70.1 per cent from 2005/06 to 2010/11, due primarily to its recommendation from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as the first choice drug for oral therapy in type 2 diabetes.

Tim Straughan, chief executive at the NHS Information Centre, said: “This information will help people and health professionals see the impact that caring for diabetes has on NHS prescribing; and support the NHS in planning for how to best address the condition moving forward.”

The report is available from the NHS Information Centre:

24th August 2011


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