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More money spent on diabetes drugs

More money is being spent prescribing an increasing amount of diabetes drugs in England, a report by the NHS Information Centre has shown.

The cost, as well as the number, of drugs prescribed has increased by at least 40% during the past five years.

Around 35.5 million items were dispensed at primary care units in 2009-10, costing almost £650 million, compared with the 24.8 million prescriptions dispensed in 2004-5 for £458.6 million.

This is because the number of people developing diabetes in England has gone up: from 3.3% in 2004-05 to 4.1% in 2009-10, according to the report entitled Prescribing for Diabetes in England.

The latest figures are heavily influenced by the higher costs of some new drugs which have appeared recently.

Simon O'Neill, Director of Diabetes UK, said: "This large rise in diabetes drug prescriptions and costs appears to be equally due to the far greater population of people with diabetes and to the wider prescribing of newer and more expensive therapies.

"The long-term costs of poor diabetes management, ie, care for someone who's had a heart attack or stroke, lost their sight or lower limb, far outweigh those of the drugs that help prevent such devastating complications."

Diabetes UK