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Diabetes prescribing rises by a record 7 per cent in a year

Health & NHS

Diabetes prescribing rises by a record 7 per cent in a year

The number of items prescribed to treat diabetes in England rose by a record 6.6 per cent in the 12 months to April, new NHS BSA statistics show.

The NHS BSA’s prescribing for diabetes report, published this morning (August 10), shows that 65.8 million items were prescribed in 2022-23, up from 61.7 million the year before. This “was larger than seen in previous yearly increases” since 2015, according to the report.

The 2022-23 figures represent a 32 per cent increase from 2015-16, when 49.7 million items were prescribed.

Meanwhile, the number of patients receiving prescriptions rose by six per cent year-on-year to 3.4 million – again, the highest annual increase observed since 2015, and just over a quarter more than in 2015.

Men aged 60 to 64 were most likely to be prescribed these items, followed by men aged 65 to 69 and those aged 70 to 74. Parts  of England with greater socioeconomic deprivation had the highest number of diabetes patients, with a gap of 320,000 patients between the most deprived and the least deprived.

Diabetes medicines accounted for six per cent of all prescribed items in 2022-23 and 15 per cent of total drug costs at £1.53bn – a 60 per cent increase on the £960m that was spent during 2015-16.

Antidiabetic drugs like metformin and gliclazide were the most prescribed items in the category at 49 million items in 2022-23 – 70 per cent of all diabetes items and an eight per cent leap from 2021-22. Insulin items, hypoglycaemia medicines, glucose interstitial fluid detection sensors all saw increases in prescribing rates from the previous year too. Meanwhile, prescriptions for diagnostic and monitoring agents fell by four per cent to 6.6 million items.

The report shows that the cost of antidiabetic drug prescribing rose by 107 between 2015 and 2023, from £420m to £880m.

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