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Publication, Part of

Prescribing Costs in Hospitals and the Community, England 2016/17

Official statistics
Publication Date:
Geographic Coverage:
Geographical Granularity:
Regions, Country, Strategic Health Authorities
Date Range:
01 Apr 2010 to 31 Mar 2017


This report presents summary figures relating to medicine costs at list price in hospitals and in the community in England for 2016/17, and the recent growth in use. The report aims to show the relative use of medicines in hospital and in primary care and the wider health economy. It also includes a section looking at the costs at list price of medicines positively appraised by NICE. Many of these are used mainly or exclusively in hospitals.

All costs given in this report are medicine costs at list price before any discounts. Where hospital and total costs are stated throughout the report the figures refer to estimated costs at list price. Cost at list price is the basic cost of a drug excluding VAT and is not necessarily the price the NHS paid. It does not take account of any contract prices or discounts, dispensing costs, fees or prescription charges income, so the amount the NHS paid will be different.

Key Facts

  • The overall medicines cost at list price in the NHS, before any discounts, in 2016/17 was £17.4 billion, an increase of 3.5 per cent from £16.8 billion in 2015/16 and an increase of 33.7 per cent from £13.0 billion in 2010/11.
  • In 2016/17 hospital use accounted for 47.6 per cent (£8.3 billion) of the total cost at list price, before any discounts, up from 45.2 per cent (£7.6 billion) in 2015/16 and up from 32.1 per cent (£4.2 billion) in 2010/11.
  • In 2016/17 the total hospital cost at list price increased by 9.0 per cent on the previous year in contrast to a decrease of 1.0 per cent in primary care.


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Last edited: 11 April 2018 5:01 pm