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Prescription Cost Analysis - 2005

Publication date: 09:30 April 11, 2006


Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) provides details of the number of items and the net ingredient cost of all prescriptions dispensed in the community in England. The drugs dispensed are listed alphabetically within chemical entity by British National Formulary (BNF) therapeutic class.

EEC Directive 92/27/EEC requires that names of medicinal substances be changed from the British Approved Name (BAN) to the Recommended International Non-proprietary Name (rINN), where the BAN and rINN differ. A full list of the name changes appears in the introductory pages of the British National Formulary. The Prescription Cost Analysis system will reflect these changes from 2003 onwards.

PCA in electronic format

The 2005 data are provided from the links below in two formats:

  • Portable Document Format
  • Downloadable spreadsheet Excel 5 or later version, or Excel 5 in zipped format.

In the PDF file, the number of prescription items dispensed for individual preparations, dressings or appliances is rounded to the nearest 100. There are a very large number of preparations/dressings/appliances where only 50 items or less were dispensed in 2005. While accounting for just under 50 per cent of the total number of preparations dispensed, such preparations covered less than 0.02 per cent of the total items dispensed. In order, therefore, to keep the publication to a manageable size, such preparations have been excluded. Information on these items can be obtained by contacting the address in paragraph 4 below.

The Excel file also excludes data on products where less than 50 prescription items were dispensed and aggregating data for individual products may not produce the actual totals. The Excel file therefore includes these totals for the following 6 levels of aggregation:

  • Chemical entity
  • BNF sub paragraph
  • BNF paragraph
  • BNF section
  • BNF chapter
  • Overall total

The data in the file for prescription numbers, cost and quantity are given to the nearest hundred. However we would recommend that any data extracted for use is presented to the nearest thousand.

Further details about PCA data can be obtained from:

Health & Social Care Information Centre,
Trevelyan Square,
Boar Lane,

Telephone: 0845 300 6016 Email:
Please let us know at this address if you have any comments on this publication.

PCA reports from previous years (1998-2004) are available from the Department of Health website.


Date Range: 01 January 2005 to 31 December 2005
Geographical coverage: England
Geographical granularity: Country

Have a question? Call us on 0300 303 5678 or contact

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