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National Statistics
Publication, Part of

Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community - Statistics for England, 2006-2016

Official statistics, National statistics
Publication Date:
Geographic Coverage:
Date Range:
01 Jan 2006 to 31 Dec 2016


This bulletin presents a summary of prescription items dispensed in the community by community pharmacists, appliance contractors and dispensing doctors in England. The bulletin highlights recent changes and the main trends between 2006 and 2016.

The specific source for these statistics is the Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) data. NHS Digital publishes the Prescription Cost Analysis National Statistic, based on PCA figures for the most recent calendar year, in March.

Measures used in this report

Net Ingredient Cost (NIC) is the basic cost of a drug. It does not take account of discounts, dispensing costs, fees or prescription charges income, so the amount the NHS spent will be slightly different.
Items are prescriptions written on a prescription form known as a FP10. Each single item written on the form is counted as a prescription item.

Note: Table 12 of the appendix tables was removed at 2pm on the day of publication due to the 2016 figures being incorrect. The information in table 12 of the appendix tables is also presented in the trend tables and these are correct for all years, so users are advised to use these figures. We apologise for any inconvenience.


  • The total net ingredient cost (NIC) of prescription items dispensed in 2016 was £9,204.9 million, a decrease of 0.7 per cent (£61.8 million) on the cost in 2015. 
  • The total number of items dispensed in 2016 was 1,104.1 million, an increase of 1.9 per cent, (20.5 million) on the number of items dispensed in 2015. 
  • The total number of items dispensed in 2016 for antidepressants showed the greatest numeric rise since 2015. They increased by 3.7 million items (6.0 per cent).

Administrative Sources

Prescription Cost Analysis


Related Links

Last edited: 9 December 2021 9:10 am