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Prescribing costs in hospitals and the community

"Prescribing costs in hospitals and the community", published today by NHS Digital, reports the overall costs of medicines used in hospitals and those prescribed in primary care. It also looks at medicines positively appraised by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

The report presents summary cost figures relating to medicine use through prescribing in hospitals and the community in England in 2015/16, which includes the estimated prescribing cost of prescriptions in millions of pounds from 2010/11 to 2015/16 for primary care prescribing dispensed in the community, hospital prescribing dispensed in the community and for medicines issued from hospital pharmacy departments. It also shows the proportions of the total cost for each sector and the corresponding annual percentage change between each year.


Data for hospital use of medicines is provided by IMS Health, which collects data on hospital prescribing from most English Trusts and apply costs to this data using the Drug Tariff and standard price lists. Hospitals are often able to access NHS negotiated discounted prices; therefore the costs in this report are not necessarily reflective of those that hospitals actually paid for the medicines.


The data for medicine use in the other two sectors presented (primary care and hospital prescribed medicines dispensed in the community) is provided by NHS Prescription Services which is responsible for reimbursing those who dispense prescriptions. It does not include prescriptions written by dentists.


All costs given in this report are net ingredient cost (NIC). This is the basic price of a drug excluding VAT (the price listed in the national Drug Tariff or in standard price lists). It does not take account of discounts, dispensing costs, fees or prescription charges income.


Cost changes have not been adjusted for inflation.


Read the full report at:

Notes to editors

1. NHS Digital is the national information and technology provider for the health and care system. Our team of information analysis, technology and project management experts create, deliver and manage the crucial digital systems, services, products and standards upon which health and care professionals depend. During the 2015/16 financial year, NHS Digital published 294 statistical reports. Our vision is to harness the power of information and technology to make health and care better. NHS Digital is the new trading name for the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). We provide 'Information and Technology for better health and care'. Find out more about our role and remit at

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Last edited: 11 April 2018 5:38 pm