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Prescribing

Wales has highest number of prescriptions per head of population among UK countries

Wales dispensed the highest number of prescription items per head of population in 2015 compared with other countries in the UK, according to official statistics released on 18 May 2016.

The figures, published by National Statistics Wales and which apply only to items dispensed in the community, reveal that 25.7 items were dispensed per capita in Wales compared with 21.6 in Northern Ireland, 20.0 in England and 19.0 in Scotland.

The total number of prescription items dispensed in the community in Wales continued to rise, going up from 78.5 million in 2014 to 79.5 million in 2015, an increase of 1.2%.

The net ingredient cost of all prescriptions dispensed in the community went up by 3.5% during the same 12 months from £573.4m to £593.7m.

Drugs for the treatment of cardiovascular disease accounted for the most prescription items dispensed – some 23.5 million. Within drugs for cardiovascular disease, statins had the largest long-term increase by item, up more than 460% since 2000.

Simvastatin was the most commonly prescribed drug, with 2.65 million items dispensed in the community in 2015, the figures show.

Drugs dispensed in the community for the treatment of central nervous system conditions cost the Welsh NHS £131.3m in 2015 – the highest bill for any clinical area, the report reveals.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2016.20201196

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