Skip to main content
National Statistics
Publication, Part of

Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community - Statistics for England, 2005-2015

Official statistics, National statistics
Publication Date:
Geographic Coverage:
Date Range:
01 Jan 2005 to 31 Dec 2015


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 2005 and 2015.


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.


  • 1,083.6 million prescription items were dispensed overall in 2015, a 1.8 per cent increase (19.1 million items) on the previous year and a 50.4 per cent increase (363.4 million items) since 2005.
  • The total net ingredient cost (NIC) of prescriptions dispensed in 2015 increased to £9.3 billion, from £8.9 billion in 2014, an increase of 4.7 per cent (£414.0 million). This is a 16.8 per cent increase (£1330.0 million) on 2005, when the total cost was £7.9 billion.
  • The leading BNF Section in terms of net ingredient cost, for the ninth year in succession, is BNF 6.1 Drugs used in diabetes.
  • In terms of therapeutic area, the greatest increase in the volume of prescribing in 2015 is of BNF Section 4.3, Antidepressant drugs, (3.9 million items).
  • 89.7 per cent of all prescription items were dispensed free of charge, with 60.4 per cent of all prescription items dispensed free of charge to patients claiming age exemption (aged 60 and over).

Administrative Sources

Prescription Cost Analysis


Related Links

Last edited: 27 July 2018 8:51 am