The ONS's figures show that spending on public healthcare in the UK has risen from nearly £45 billion in 1997 to more than £67 billion in 2002 - a 45 per cent rise over five years. At the same time, expenditure on branded prescription medicines has remained constant at about 12 per cent of NHS expenditure.
"Increased spending on health by the Government is very welcome," said Dr Trevor Jones, Director General of the ABPI. "Yet, while more money has been invested in innovative medicines, this has grown in line with the rest of NHS expenditure.
"It has been recognised for some time that NHS patients have not benefited from modern developments in medicines to the same extent as people in other countries. These figures show that this disadvantage is gradually being overcome.
"It is also important to remember that the increased expenditure on medicines is almost solely driven by a greater level of prescribing, mainly thanks to various Government initiatives that are reducing death rates from heart disease, cancer and other diseases."
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