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Prescribing Costs in Hospitals and the Community, England 2015/16

Publication date: 09:30 November 22, 2016


This report compares expenditure between primary and secondary care in total and for medicines positively appraised by NICE.


All costs given in this report are net ingredient cost (NIC). This is the basic price of a drug excluding VAT (the price listed in the national Drug Tariff or in standard price lists). Cost changes have not been adjusted for inflation. It does not take account of discounts, dispensing costs, fees or prescription charges income.


Please note, the key fact figure for the rise in the cost of medicines in hospitals since 2010/11 has been corrected to 81.8 per cent as stated in the accompanying report.

Key Facts

Key Facts The overall NHS expenditure on medicines in 2015/16 was £16.8 billion, an increase of 8.0 per cent from £15.5 billion in 2014/15 and an increase of 29.1 per cent from £13.0 billion in 2010/11.
In 2015/16 hospital use accounted for 45.2 per cent (£7.6 billion) of the total cost, up from 43.0 per cent (£6.7 billion) in 2014/15 and up from 32.1 per cent (£4.2 billion) in 2010/11.
The cost of medicines rose by 8.0 per cent overall but by 13.6 per cent in hospitals, from 2014/15 to 2015/16. The cost of medicines in hospitals has risen by 81.8 per cent since 2010/11.
Of the drugs positively appraised by NICE, the greatest overall cost in 2015/16 was for Adalimumab (£416.6 million), which also incurred the greatest cost (over £391.1 million) in hospitals.


Date Range: 01 April 2010 to 31 March 2016
Geographical coverage: England
Geographical granularity: Regions

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