Diabetes prescriptions costing NHS over £1bn a year

Insulin pen

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Prescriptions for people with diabetes are costing the NHS in England over £1 billion a year, official figures show.

The "total net ingredient" cost of diabetes prescriptions has increased since 2016, rising from £983.7 million to £1,012.4 million in 2017/18.

Almost one in 20 prescriptions written by GPs are for diabetes treatments, with 53.4 million items prescribed in 2017.



The figure is a significant increase on the number of diabetic treatments prescribed a decade ago - including insulins, antidiabetic drugs, and diagnostics and monitoring devices.

In 2007/8 there were 30.8 million prescription items for diabetes.

Around 3.7 million people have been diagnosed with the condition in the UK, according to the charity Diabetes UK, and it is estimated that five million more people will have the condition by 2025.


'Urgent need to prevent diabetes from developing'

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, national clinical director for diabetes and obesity at NHS England said the new data "highlights the urgend need to prevent Type 2 diabetes from developing in the first place".

The figures follow a speech delivered by health secretary, Matt Hancock, who said that people needed to take "greater personal responsibility" for managing their own health in order to protect the NHS.

In an interview with talkRADIO's Julia Hartley-Brewer ahead of the speech, Mr Hancock said he was "determined" to invest more in primary care, doctors and the community services that "stop people going into hospital in the first place".