Community prescribing in the UK

​The total number of prescriptions in the UK has almost doubled from circa 681 million in 2000 to 1,244 million in 2013.

The same trend applies to the number of prescriptions issued per person in the UK in the same period, and has increased from 12 in 2000 to 19 prescriptions per head.

Figure 1 – Total number of prescriptions issued in the UK, 2000–2013

The total number of prescriptions in the UK has almost doubled from circa 681 million in 2000 to 1,244 million in 2013.

Trend in total number of prescriptions issued in the UK, 1994–2012

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Note: data is taken from Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) and relates to prescriptions dispensed in the community only
Sources: England, Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC); Wales, NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS); Scotland, Information Services Division of NHS National Services Scotland (ISD); Northern Ireland, Health and Social Care Business Services Organisation (HSCBSO).
Source: OHE Guide to UK Health and Health Care Statistics

Figure 2 – Number of prescriptions issued per person in the UK, 2000–2013

The graph shows both the trend of the average number of prescriptions issued in the UK from 2002 to 2013, and the medicines net ingredient cost in the same time period.

Trend in number of prescriptions issued per person in the UK, 1994–2012

Click here for larger version
Note: data is taken from Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) and relates to prescriptions dispensed in the community only
Sources: England, Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC); Wales, NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS); Scotland, Information Services Division of NHS National Services Scotland (ISD); Northern Ireland, Health and Social Care Business Services Organisation (HSCBSO).

Figure 3 – Community prescribing in the UK, 2000–2013

The table below summarises the figures used for the graphs in Figure 1 and 2 on this page. The net ingredient cost (NIC) of a prescription has been decreasing since 2004.

Rxs (000s)​ Rxs per head​ NIC (£000s)​ NIC per head £​ NIC per Rxs​
2000​ 681,027 11.6​ 6,909,176 117.33 10.15
2001​ 723,164 12.2​ 7,569,667 128.05 10.47
2002​ 760,718 12.8​ 8,473,490 142.84 11.14
2003​ 799,274​ 13.4 9,280,492 155.82 11.61
2004​ 842,300 14.1​ 9,961,040 166.44 11.83
2005​ 882,441​ 14.6 9,820,296 163.02​ 11.13
2006​ 919,703​ 15.2 10,108,034 166.83 10.99
2007​ 971,436 15.9 10,318,096 169.22 10.62
2008​ 1,024,829 16.7 10,272,275 167.27 10.02
2009​ 1,076,269 17.4 10,524,233 170.31 9.78
2010​ 1,123,680 ​18.0 10,864,210​ 174.49 ​9.67
2011​ 1,164,677 18.4 10,834,135 171.48 9.30
2012​ 1,210,084 ​19.1 10,467,696 165.51 8.65
2013 ​1,243,773 ​19.4 10,571,552​ 164.96​ 8.50​
 

Note: data is taken from Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) and relates to prescriptions dispensed in the community only
Sources: England, Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC); Wales, NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS); Scotland, Information Services Division of NHS National Services Scotland (ISD); Northern Ireland, Health and Social Care Business Services Organisation (HSCBSO).

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