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Diabetes continues to be the most expensive condition for the NHS

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Medicines for diabetes cost nearly £1 billion Medicines for diabetes cost nearly £1 billion each year

The cost of prescribing medication to people with diabetes in general practice has risen and remains the largest area of spending, according to analysis by Cogora.

According to the report, General Practice Prescribing Trends in England and Wales, 2015 Annual Review, a total of £992million was spent on diabetes drugs in 2015. This was followed by respiratory corticosteroids, analgesics, antiepileptics and oral nutrition products. As in 2014, these drug categories together accounted for over a third of the total spend on all English and Welsh general practice prescriptions in 2015. The highest spend on diabetes drugs was seen in CCGs categorised as deprived urban CCGs with younger people and ethnic diversity, particularly with BME communities.

Diabetes already poses a large economic burden on the NHS,’ says Ellen Murphy, head of insight at Cogora, and the study’s author. ‘Lifestyle related conditions, such as obesity, are likely to contribute to an even higher increase in the number of Type 2 diabetes cases, with one estimate suggesting type 2 diabetes could affect 9.5% of the adult population by 2030. If diabetes prevalence continues to increase it would further add to the financial pressure on the NHS.’

The total cost associated with prescriptions in general practices rose from £9.16 billion in 2014 to £9.58 billion in 2015. The report also observed regional variations in spending. For example, the highest cost in 2015 was observed in Wales, which spent £187.60 per registered patient. In contrast, the lowest cost was observed in London (£113.81 per registered patient).

‘Spending increased by 4.6% relative to 2015,’ added Ms Murphy. ‘This was much above inflation and therefore higher than would have been expected had factors, such as prevalence, remained constant.’

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