The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) has released its annual statistics report titled ‘Prescription Cost Analysis – England 2022/23,’ revealing a notable increase in prescription costs for the year. The report highlights that a staggering 1.18 billion prescription items were dispensed in the community in England, amounting to a total expenditure of £10.4 billion. This represents an 8% rise from the previous year’s figure of £9.69 billion.
The report further discloses that the cost of prescription items has surged by 17% or £1.48 billion since the 2014/15 period. Remarkably, this marks the fourth consecutive year in which the cost of dispensed items has witnessed an increase, following a decline observed between 2015/16 and 2018/19.
Additionally, the statistics outline a 3% growth in the number of drugs and medical devices, such as blood glucose monitors, dispensed in the community in England. The figure rose from 1.14 billion in 2021/22 to 1.18 billion in 2022/23, resulting in a 10% increase compared to the 2014/15 period.
Among the medications dispensed, Atorvastatin, a drug used to treat high blood cholesterol, topped the list with 59 million items. However, Apixaban, an anticoagulant, emerged as the drug with the highest costs, totaling £430 million.
A closer examination of the data reveals that Apixaban 5mg tablets experienced the most significant cost surge between 2021/22 and 2022/23 in England, with an increase of £280 million.
The latest NHSBSA report highlights the ongoing challenges faced by the NHS in managing prescription costs. As the cost of prescription items continues to rise, it raises questions about the sustainability of the current system and the implications for patients and healthcare providers.