Diabetes prescribing rates have almost doubled compared to other conditions over the past decade in England.
NHS Digital’s latest statistics show that the increase in numbers of prescriptions for diabetes rose from 28.9 million in 2006-07 to 52.0 million in 2016-17, an increase of 81.0 per cent. The overall increase in diabetes drugs net ingredient cost (NIC) was from £572.4 million in 2006-07 to £983.7 million in 2016-17, and increase of 71.9 per cent.
The figures for primary care prescribing in general were a 46.0 per cent increase in prescription items (752.5m in 2006-07 rising to 1,098.4m in 2016-17) and an 11.3 per cent rise in NIC (from £8,050.5m to £8,962.7m)
Diabetes medication has increased from 3.8 per cent of items to 4.7% of all items, and from accounting for 7.1 per cent of NIC to 11.0 per cent of NIC.
For 2016-17, “antidiabetic drugs (BNF section 6.1.2) make up 45.1 per cent of the total £983.7 million net ingredient cost of drugs used in diabetes and accounts for 72.0 per cent of prescription items for all diabetes prescribing,” said NHS Digital.
Quality and Outcomes Framework data indicates that “there was a 22.6 per cent increase in diabetes prevalence in England between 2009-10 and 2015-16. Prescriptions in primary care for diabetes increased by 40.0 per cent over the same period and prescriptions for the most commonly prescribed category of diabetes drugs, biguanides (metformin), rose by 51.5 per cent over this period.”
Over the whole decade, metformin prescribing rose 121.1 per cent, from 9.4 million items in 2006-07 to 20.8 million items in 2016-17.
Data included in NHS Digital’s publication includes a breakdown of annual figures for the various BNF categories, as well as breakdown by clinical commissioning group of numbers and costs by category.