Prescribing for Diabetes Report Assesses UK Epidemic

As the diabetes epidemic in Britain continues to expand, a new study from NHS Digital sheds further light on the debilitating condition.

‘Prescribing for Diabetes’ reports on and examines prescribing trends on medicines prescribed in primary care in England for the treatment and monitoring of diabetes during the period April 2006 to March 2017.

Diabetes is a high profile clinical area, as the prevalence is increasing and costs associated with treating patients with diabetes are also increasing.

Drugs used in treating diabetes – according to the British National Formulary – now make up 11.0% of total primary care net ingredient costs and 4.7% of prescription items, according to the report.

It was also discovered that in the financial year 2016/17, there were 52.0 million items prescribed for diabetes at a total net ingredient cost of £983.7 million.

This figure has escalated from 28.9 million prescription items and £572.4 million in 2006/07.

Antidiabetic drugs now make up 45.1% of the total £983.7 million net ingredient cost of drugs used in diabetes, and account for 72.0% of prescription items for all diabetes prescribing.

This underlines the critical nature of the current diabetes climate.

Commenting on the issue, Simon O’Neill, Director of Health Intelligence for Diabetes UK, suggested that the prevalence of diabetes is rapidly becoming a major health emergency.

“The number of people diagnosed with diabetes has risen by 54% in the last decade, so it’s no surprise that levels of prescribing have risen by almost the same level. But the increase in prescribing at a primary care level is indicative of the hard work doctors are doing to help people living with diabetes keep their blood glucose at safe levels, and preventing devastating, and costly, complications – such as cardiovascular and kidney disease – further down the line.”

O’ Neill suggested that addressing the current situation should be considered a priority.

“It is vital that drugs being prescribed are reviewed regularly to not only ensure patients receive the most effective therapy, but also to reduce waste. Diabetes is one of our biggest health crises, and with 12 million people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, it’s clear that focusing on prevention is vital to prevent costs rising even higher.”

It is estimated that more than one in 16 people in the UK has diabetes, with many of these being undiagnosed.

There are currently 3.9 million people living with diabetes in the UK.

 

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