GP prescribing spend falls: graphical view

GP prescribing costs have fallen, as efforts to drive down drug costs begin to have an impact, data for 2011 show. The graphs below show how prescribing costs have changed since the 1990s.

Information Centre figures reveal that 962m prescriptions costing a total of £8.831bn were dispensed in community pharmacies in England in 2011. This represents a 0.33% reduction in prescribing costs, compared with 2010 when prescribing spend rose to £8.834bn.


This 0.33% reduction in spending on medicines came as the same time as the number of prescriptions against which medicines were dispensed rose by 3.8%.


Overall, the average cost of each prescription (the mean net ingredient cost) fell from £9.53 to £9.16.


Earlier this month, figures showed that prescription costs have continued to fall since the end of 2011.

Spending in prescriptions fell by around 6.2% in the first quarter in which GPs were assessed on local plans to improve prescribing efficiency. The number of items prescribed rose by 11.7m in this time. The DH praised GPs’ efforts, but said further progress could be made.

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