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National Statistics
Publication, Part of

Prescription Cost Analysis - England, 2013

Official statistics, National statistics
Publication Date:
Geographic Coverage:
Geographical Granularity:
Date Range:
01 Jan 2013 to 31 Dec 2013


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 by British National Formulary (BNF) therapeutic class.


Further analysis of the PCA data will be published later in the year in the Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community publication.


Please note: on 27 April 2015, the Top 20 data spreadsheet and the text below was updated to reflect an error in the ordering and inclusion of the drugs with the highest Net Ingredient Cost. No figures have been changed. Users are advised to download the revised file to ensure they have the correct data. The HSCIC would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.


  • In 2013, 1.0 billion prescription items were dispensed in the community. This is an increase of 3 per cent (30 million items) on the number dispensed in 2012.

  • The Net Ingredient Cost (NIC) in 2013 was £8.6 billion, an increase of 1 per cent (£102 million) on the NIC in 2012.

  • The average NIC per item in 2013 was £8.37, a decrease of 2 per cent (15 pence) on the average NIC per item in 2012.

The chart below show the items and NIC for the top 10 chemicals dispensed in 2013 by item:

  • Simvastatin was the most commonly prescribed chemical with 39.9 million items dispensed in 2013, whilst Fluticasone Propionate (Inh) had the greatest NIC, £396.1m.

The 2013 data are provided from the links below in three formats:


1. Portable Document Format (PDF)


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 less than 50 items were dispensed in 2013. While accounting for nearly 40 per cent of the total number of preparations dispensed, such preparations covered just 0.01 per cent of the total items dispensed. In order, therefore, to keep the PDF file to a manageable size, such preparations have been excluded, although their figures are included in all total figures such as chemical entity and BNF groupings.


2. Spreadsheet (XLS) - Excel 2003 or later version in zipped format


The Excel file, includes data on all preparations rather than excluding products where less than 50 prescription items were dispensed. The Excel file therefore includes these totals for the following 7 levels of aggregation: Individual preparation, Chemical entity, BNF sub paragraph, BNF paragraph, BNF section, BNF chapter and Overall total.


The data in the file for prescription numbers, cost and quantity are given exactly.


3. Comma Separated Value (CSV) format


The Comma Separated Value file gives the number of prescription items dispensed for individual preparations, dressings or appliances exactly, for all preparations.

  In addition, an Excel file has been produced with gives the top 20 chemicals dispensed by both Items and NIC in a tabular and chart form.

Administrative Sources



Related Links

Last edited: 22 June 2018 9:56 am