Diabetes drugs cost NHS nearly £1bn a year
The cost to the NHS of prescribing drugs for diabetes has soared to almost £1bn a year, as the number of people diagnosed with the disease has risen sharply alongside the surge in obesity.
The NHS in England spent £956.7m on drugs last year prescribed by GPs, nurses and pharmacists to treat and manage the condition. That sum represents 10.6% of the cost of all prescriptions issued by NHS primary care services in 2015-16.
The health service now spends more on medication for type 1 and type 2 diabetes than for any other ailment. The number of diabetics across the UK as a whole has recently risen to more than four million and has increased by 65% over the last 10 years.
The cost of diabetes drugs has almost doubled in a decade, new data from NHS Digital show. That £956.7m was a huge rise on the £513.9m it spent on them in 2005-06 which, at the time, was just 6% of the NHS’s total drugs bill.
Diabetes is thought to cost the NHS about £10bn, once the cost of treatment, including amputation and hospitalisations for life-threatening hypoglycaemic attacks, is included.
Last year a total of 49.7m items were prescribed for diabetes, compared to 27.1m a decade years earlier, when just 53 items were prescribed for every 100 people; that had risen to 91 last year.
Just under nine in 10 (89.1%) diabetics have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which is closely associated with people’s lifestyles, especially their weight.
However, type 1 diabetes – whose sufferers include Theresa May – is an autoimmune condition. It often emerges in childhood, though the prime minister, 59, Continue reading