Figures for England show that 75 per cent of the overall NHS drugs budget of £10.3 billion was spent in primary care, with the remaining quarter accounted for by hospital prescribing - a similar proportion to 2004.
While prescribing costs fell in primary care, The Information Centre reported that the estimated cost of drugs used in hospitals rose by 2.3 per cent, compared with 9.3 per cent in the previous year.
The most spent on a single product in primary care was £132 million on the prescribing of clopidogrel. This product also had the highest estimated cost overall to the NHS, at more than £144 million.
Primary care spent £27 million on orlistat in 2005 and the same amount on donepezil.
The average cost of primary care prescribing worked out at £153 per person.
For the full report go to http://www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/hospres05