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Diabetes medications make up a tenth of primary care prescribing

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Precriptions have risen for diabetes management Precriptions have risen for diabetes management

Prescriptions for diabetes medication now accounts for a tenth of the annual primary care prescribing bill for the first time.

Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show that the Net Ingredient Cost (NIC) for managing diabetes was £868.6 million in 2014/15. This relates to £2.4million a day spent on diabetes drugs in primary care.

This represents 10% of the total primary care prescribing spend in 2014/15 compared with 9.5 % in 2013/14 and 6.6% in 2005/6.

The report, Prescribing for diabetes in England, analysed trends for diabetes medicines prescribed in primary care in England from April 2005 to March 2015. The report shows that 47.2 million items were presribed for diabetes, a 4.6% increase from 2013/14 and a 74.1% rise from 2005/6.

Simon O'Neill, director of health intelligence and professional liaison at Diabetes UK, said that this report reflects the growing scale of diabetes and the fact that the condition is leading to huge costs to the NHS.

However, he highlighted that the 'cost of medication to treat someone with diabetes is proportionately much smaller than the cost of poor diabetes management, which can lead to complications, such as amputations, heart attack or stroke. The cost of treating these complications far outweigh those of the drugs that help prevent them. Diabetes costs the NHS nearly £10 billion, 80% of which is spent on managing avoidable complications.'

Mr O'Neill said that money could be saved by providing people with better care to prevent these costly complications from developing.

'With a record-high of 3.9 million people living with diabetes in the UK, now is the time for the government to act and focus on increasing the proportion of people getting the 15 healthcare essentials that everyone with diabetes should be receiving. Better care, along with providing improved and more flexible education options, will help to reduce the number of people with complications, which will ultimately result in saving money and give people living with diabetes the best possible chance of living long and healthy lives,' he said.

Responsible statistician for the report, Ian Bullard said: 'Diabetes continues to be one of the most prevalent long term conditions, and the number of patients being diagnosed with the condition is increasing each year.'

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