Skip to main content
National Statistics
Publication, Part of

Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community - Statistics for England, 2003-2013

Official statistics, National statistics
Publication Date:
Geographic Coverage:
Date Range:
01 Jan 2003 to 31 Dec 2013


This bulletin presents a summary of prescriptions dispensed in the community by community pharmacists, appliance contractors, and dispensing doctors in England. The bulletin highlights recent changes and the main trends between 2003 and 2013.


The specific source for these statistics is the Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) data. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) publishes the Prescription Cost Analysis National Statistic, based on PCA figures for the most recent calendar year, annually, in April.


  • The number of prescription items dispensed in the community has increased by 58.5 per cent since 2003. Over 1.03 billion items were prescribed in 2013 compared to 649.7 million in 2003.
  • The overall Net Ingredient Cost (NIC) of prescriptions has increased by 14.8 per cent since 2003.  In 2013 the overall NIC of prescriptions stood at £8.63 billion, compared to £7.51 billion in 2003.
  • The leading BNF Section in terms of NIC, for the seventh year in succession, is BNF 6.1 drugs used in diabetes.
  • The BNF Section with the largest increase in NIC between 2012 and 2013 was BNF 4.3 antidepressant drugs.
  • Ninety per cent of all prescription items are dispensed free of charge.  For the first time, this report looks at the overall net ingredient cost of free of charge prescriptions.

Administrative Sources

Prescription Cost Analysis


Related Links

Last edited: 27 July 2018 9:58 am