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Diabetes prescriptions shoot to 40m

Diabetes prescriptions topped 40 million for the first time ever last year, official figures show.

Data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) shows the number of diabetes prescriptions has risen by almost 50% in six years to 40.6 million in 2011/12.

According to the report Prescribing for Diabetes in England: 2005/6 to 2011/12 the net cost of diabetes drugs rose by just under 50% during the same period.

Furthermore, while the overall cost of all drugs to the NHS fell last year by just 1%, the diabetes drugs bill increased by nearly 5%.

“Our 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,” said Tim Straughan, Chief Executive of HSCIC.

“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.”

How you do explain the sudden rise in diabetes prescriptions?