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National Statistics
Publication, Part of

Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community - Statistics for England, 1997-2007

Official statistics, National statistics
Publication Date:
Geographic Coverage:
Date Range:
01 Jan 1997 to 31 Dec 2007


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.


  • the net ingredient cost of all prescriptions dispensed increased by 2.1 per cent to £8,372.7 million; a decrease of 0.7 per cent in real terms on 2006 and an increase of 49.5 per cent in real terms over 1997
  • 796 million prescription items were dispensed; an increase of 5.9 per cent on 2006 and 59.2 per cent over 1997
  • the average net ingredient cost per prescription item was £10.51; a decrease of 3.5 per cent or 6.3 per cent in real terms on 2006. The net ingredient cost per item in 1997 was £8.73
  • the leading BNF Chapter in terms of prescription items dispensed and net ingredient cost is the Cardiovascular System
  • the leading BNF Section in terms of prescription items dispensed is Hypertension and Heart Failure
  • the leading BNF Section in terms of net ingredient cost is Drugs used in Diabetes
  • 82.6 per cent of all prescription items were written generically
  • there were, on average 15.6 prescription items dispensed per head of population compared to 14.8 in 2006 and 10.3 in 1997
  • the elderly received 42.4 items per head in 2007 compared to 22.3 in 1997
  • 88.6 per cent of all prescription items dispensed were free to patients.

Administrative Sources

Prescription Cost Analysis


Last edited: 21 May 2019 1:19 pm