2.2 Million Pounds Spent Every Day On Diabetes Drugs In Primary Care

More than 120,000 prescription items dispensed each day.

*HSCIC must be quoted as the source of these figures

*Regional figures are available

Prescriptions to manage diabetes in primary care cost the NHS £2.2 million on average every day in 2013-14, new figures show.2,3

Today’s Prescribing for Diabetes report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) shows the Net Ingredient Cost (NIC)3 for managing diabetes was £803.1 million in 2013-14. This is a 5.1 per cent increase from £764.1 million in 2012-13 (£2.1 million per day on average) and a 56.3 per cent increase on £513.9 million in 2005-06 (£1.4 million per day on average).

Almost 10 per cent (9.5 per cent) of the total primary care drugs bill was spent on managing diabetes and this shows a continuous annual rise from 6.6 per cent in 2005-06.

This report provides the latest trends for diabetes medicines prescribed in primary care in England in the period April 2005 to March 2014.

Today’s report shows that in primary care in 2013-14:

  • There were 45.1 million prescription items4 for managing diabetes, an average of 123,610 items per day. This is a rise of 6.1 per cent on last year (42.5 million, or 116,510 items per day on average) and 66.5 per cent rise on 2005-06 (a rise of 18.0 million or 49,370 items per day on average).
  • Insulin items can be prescribed for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes and accounted for about one in seven (14.3 per cent or 6.5 million items) items prescribed for diabetes which is similar to 2012-13 (14.6 per cent or 6.2 million) and slightly lower than in 2005-06 (17.4 per cent or 4.7 million).
  • Seven out of ten diabetes prescription items were for antidiabetic drugs5 which are prescribed only for type 2 diabetes (70.3 per cent or 31.7 million items). This is a 6.9 per cent increase on 29.7 million items in 2012-13, and almost double the figure in 2005-06 (16.1 million items).
  • Diagnositic and monitoring devices made up the remainder of diabetes items prescribed and the majority of these were blood glucose testing strips.
  • Costs of all three categories of diabetes drugs have increased from 2005-06 but in particular insulin items where the rise in spending was 11.6 per cent higher than the rise in items prescribed.

HSCIC Chair Kingsley Manning said: “Today’s report brings to light the rising costs for managing diabetes in primary care.

“Diabetes continues to be one of the most prevalent life-threatening conditions in England and now accounts for almost 10 per cent of the drugs bill. Our latest data highlights the growing implications to the NHS and patients of managing this condition.”

You can find the full report at


COTS 2024