Community prescribing in the UK

​The total number of prescriptions in the UK has doubled from circa 560 million in 1994 to 1,176 million in 2011. 

The same trend applies to the number of prescriptions issued per person in the UK in the same period, and has increased from 9.7 in 1994 to 18.8 prescriptions per head.

Figure 1 – Total number of prescriptions issued in the UK, 1994–2012

The total number of prescriptions in the UK has doubled from circa 560 million in 1994 to 1,137 million in 2010. 
Trend in total number of prescriptions issued in the UK, 1994–2012

Source: OHE Guide to UK Health and Health Care Statistics

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Figure 2 – Number of prescriptions issued per person in the UK, 1994–2012

The graph shows both the trend of the average number of prescriptions issued in the UK from 1994 to 2012, and the medicines net ingredient cost in the same time period.

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

Source: OHE Guide to UK Health and Health Care Statistics
Notes: NIC = Net Ingredient Cost

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Figure 3 – Community prescribing in the UK, 1994–2012

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 (m)​ Rxs per head​ NIC £m​ NIC per head £​ NIC per Rxs £​ Total Cost £m​ Total cost per head £​
1994​ 560.2​ 9.7​ 4,114​ 71.10 7.34​ 4,707​ 81.35
1995​ 582.4​ 10.0​ 4,456​ 76.80​ 7.65​ 5,071​ 87.39​
1996​ 598.4​ 10.3​ 4,847​ 83.34 8.10​ 5,483 94.26​
1997​ 617.3​ 10.6​ 5,272​ 90.41​ 8.54​ 5,866​ 100.59​
1998​ 634.9​ 10.9​ 5,678​ 97.10​ 8.94​ 6,233​ 106.59​
1999​ 655.3​ 11.2​ 6,379​ 108.70​ 9.73​ 6,812​ 116.086
2000​ 680.5​ 11.6​ 6,728​ 114.25​ 9.89​ 7,216 122.54
2001​ 723.9​ 12.2​ 7,362​ 124.53​ 10.17​ 7,849​ 132.78​
2002​ 762.2​ 12.8​ 8,235​ 138.81​ 10.80​ 8,671​ 146.16​
2003​ 801.8​ 13.5​ 9,025​ 151.53​ 11.26​ 9,458​ 158.80​
2004​ 845.8​ 14.1​ 9,690​ 161.91​ 11.46​ 10,164​ 169.83​
2005​ 886.0​ 14.7​ 9,485​ 157.46​ 10.71​ 10,325 171.41
2006​ 927.4​ 15.3​ 9,844​ 162.48​ 10.62​ 10,808​ 178.38​
2007​ 979.0​ 16.1​ 10,061​ 165.00​ 10.28​ 11,134​ 182.60​
2008​ 1018.9​ 16.6​ 10,041​ 163.50 9.86​ 11,402​ 185.66
2009​ 1086.6​ 17.6​ 10,308​ 166.82​ 9.49 12,001​ 194.21​
2010​ 1137.2​ ​18.3 10,662​ ​171.36 ​9.38 12,385​ 198.92
2011​ 1176.1​ 18.6​ 10,637​ 168.36​ 9.04 12,465 ​ ​197.28
2012​ ​1218.5 ​19.3 10,255​ 162.15​ 8.42​ 12,217​ 193.18​
 

Source: OHE Guide to UK Health and Health Care Statistics 
Notes: Rxs = Number of NHS prescriptions

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