Diabetes in England accounts for tenth of prescribing bill

DIABETES treatment now accounts for a tenth of the annual primary care prescribing bill in England, according to new figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

The net ingredient cost for managing diabetes in 2014/15 was £868.6 million, representing 10.0 per cent of the total primary care prescribing spend (£8,704.9 million) compared with 9.5 per cent in 2013/14 and 6.6 per cent in 2005/06.

Over 47 million items were prescribed for diabetes in 2014/15, with insulin products accounting for 14.1 per cent and 70.8 per cent (33.4 million) being antidiabetic drugs. The latter figure is more than double that of 2005/06.

Responsible statistician for the HSCIC report – Prescribing for diabetes in England – Ian Bullard said: "Diabetes continues to be one of the most prevalent long term conditions, and the number of patients being diagnosed with the condition is increasing each year.

"[The report] shows that ten pence in the pound of the primary care prescribing bill in England is being spent on managing diabetes."

This news was followed by a report from Public Health England’s National Cardiovascular Health Intelligence Network indicating that around five million people in England have blood glucose levels indicating a high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. It was commissioned by the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS DPP) which will support people in reducing their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by helping them lose weight, be more active and have a healthier diet.

Type 2 diabetes is estimated to result in 22,000 early deaths and costs the NHS £8.8 billion every year. An evidence review also published today by PHE shows programmes similar to the NHS DPP can be successful in preventing 26 per cent of people at high risk of Type 2 diabetes from going on to develop the condition.

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of PHE, said: “We know how to lower the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes: lose weight, exercise and eat healthily, but it’s hard to do it alone. PHE’s evidence review shows that supporting people along the way will help them protect their health and that’s what our prevention programme will do.”

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