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National Statistics
Publication, Part of

Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community - Statistics for England, 1996-2006

Official statistics, National statistics
Publication Date:
Geographic Coverage:
Date Range:
01 Jan 1996 to 31 Dec 2006


This bulletin covers all prescriptions that were dispensed in England by community pharmacists, appliance contractors and dispensing doctors.

Items prescribed by GPs form the majority but dentists' prescriptions and prescriptions written in hospital or a Community Health Trust are also included, provided they were dispensed by a community pharmacist.

The bulletin shows the headline cost (net ingredient cost) of medicines before the deduction of discount or charges paid and therefore does not represent the actual cost to the NHS, however many overall messages are very similar.

Details of all items prescribed, including costs were published in The Information Centre's Prescription Cost Analysis publication on 20 April 2007.


  • The net ingredient cost of all prescriptions dispensed increased by 3.3 per cent to £8,197million; an increase of 0.8 per cent in real terms on 2005 and 60.5 per cent in real terms over 1996
  • 752 million prescription items were dispensed; an increase of 4.4 per cent on 2005 and 55.1 per cent on 1996
  • The average net ingredient cost per prescription item was £10.90; a decrease of 1.1 per cent or 3.5 per cent in real terms on 2005. The net ingredient cost per item in 1996 was £8.26
  • The leading BNF Chapter in terms of prescription items dispensed and net ingredient cost was the Cardiovascular System as it was in 2005 and 1996
  • 81.8 per cent of all prescription items were written generically; in 2005 it was 80.1 per cent and 57.5 per cent in 1996
  • There were on average 14.8 prescription items per head of population compared to 14.3 in 2005 and 10.0 in 1996
  • The elderly received 40.8 items per head in 2006 compared to 38.4 in 2005 and 21.2 in 1996
  • 88.0 per cent of all prescription items dispensed were free to patients in 2006; in 2005 this was 87.6 per cent and 85.6 per cent in 1996.

Administrative Sources

Prescription Cost Analysis


Last edited: 27 June 2018 8:17 am