UK – Diabetes prescriptions rise to 40m

The number of prescriptions in the UK for treating diabetes has now topped 40 million.  This is a 50% rise in 6 years and a 6.1% (2.3m) rise on the number of items prescribed in 2010-11, data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre reveals.  In England alone, 2.5 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes and the number is expected to reach 4.2m by 2025.

This has caused health officials to issue a warning of the huge impact it will have on the NHS.  The growth in the diabetes number is faster and greater than for prescriptions overall, where items have increased by 33%.  The net cost of diabetes drugs including treatments for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, also rose by just under 50% in the six years between 2005-06 and 2011-12.

The chief executive of Diabetes UK, Barbara Young said  it was a wake-up call to all concerned.

“We face the real possibility of diabetes bankrupting the NHS within a generation.

“This is why we need to grasp the nettle on preventing Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for around 90% of diabetes cases.”We need a government-funded awareness-raising campaign on the risk factors and symptoms of Type 2 diabetes and we need to get much better at identifying people at high risk so they can be given the support they need to prevent the condition.”  BBC

Figures show diabetes is having a growing impact on prescribing in a very obvious way – from the amount of prescriptions dispensed to patients in primary care to the annual drugs bill costs to the NHS.

HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said  “Other reports we produce, such as our National Diabetes Audit and the Quality and Outcomes Framework, also demonstrate the impact of diabetes is widespread in all areas of the health service, from pharmacy to hospital care.  “When all this information is considered together, it presents a full and somewhat concerning picture of the increasing impact of this condition.”  BBC

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