Number of prescriptions rises but costs fall

Prescription items dispensed in England have continued to increase, but the cost of these items has fallen, the NHS Information Centre has revealed.

GP writing a prescription
GP writing a prescription

In 2008, 842.5 million prescription items were dispensed in England, a rise or 5.8% from 2007, new figures show. Since 1998, the number of prescription items dispensed has increased by 64.1%.

The net ingredient cost of prescription items fell by 0.6% from 2007 to 2008, to £8.3bn. Over the same period, the average net ingredient cost per prescription item fell by 6% in cash terms to £9.88. In 1998 the average cost per item was £9.16.

NHS Information Centre chief executive Tim Straughan said the cost reductions could in part be a result of controls on the prices of commonly prescribed generic medicines.

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