TYPE 2 diabetes prescriptions are growing at double the rate of all other primary care prescribing, an NHS report has revealed.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or the insulin produced does not work properly and can be linked to lifestyle factors such as being overweight.
Every week an average of 4,500 people are diagnosed with diabetes across the UK - and thousands more are believed to be living with the condition.
If diabetes is not properly managed it can lead to serious consequences such as sight loss, limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke.
Prescription items for the treatment of diabetes have increased by 80.1 per cent over the last decade, compared with a 46 per cent rise across all primary care prescribing, an NHS Digital report has revealed.
Simon O’Neill, Director of Health Intelligence for Diabetes UK, said: “The number of people diagnosed with diabetes has risen by 54 per cent 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.
“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.”
Prescribing for Diabetes: England 2006/07 to 2016/17 – shows that in the last year the number of items prescribed for diabetes grew more than twice as fast - 4.7 per cent - than the overall increase in prescriptions across primary care - 2 per cent.
Around 52 million items were prescribed for diabetes in 2016/17, up from 49.7 million in 2015/16, and 28.9 million in 2006/07.
Prescribing for diabetes in primary care - from GPs - has grown nearly twice as quickly as the rise in diabetes prevalence across the population.
The latest prevalence figures show that there was a 22.6 per cent increase in diabetes prevalence in England between 2009/10 and 2015/16.
Prescriptions in primary care for diabetes increased by 40 per cent over the same period and prescriptions for the most commonly prescribed category of diabetes drugs, Biguanides - also known as metformin, rose by by 51.5 per cent over this period.
Looking across the whole of the last decade, prescribing of metformin for diabetes has more than doubled, from 9.4 million items in 2006/07 to 20.8 million items in 2016/17.
Cost or Net Ingredient Cost (NIC) is the basic cost of a drug.
It does not take account of discounts, dispensing costs, fees or income from prescription charges, so the amount the NHS spent will be slightly different.
In 2016/17 prescription items for diabetes accounted for around £1 in every £9 of the cost of prescription items across primary care. In 2006/07 it was less than £1 in every £14.
The cost of diabetes drugs increased over the last year, compared to the cost of prescriptions across primary care falling overall.
Between 2015/16 and 2016/17, there was a slight reduction in the overall cost of prescription items across primary care, with the figure falling below £9bn.
But, over this period, there was a £27m increase for diabetes which totalled £983.7m in 2016/17.
Some pretty scary stats.
Wow, a lot of money spent in diabetes care when changes in diet could help...
So I think the biggest reason we're seeing this bump is the frequent use of sugar in foods, rather than natural fats. When the body is being supplied refined sugars, of course it's going throw off the natural production of chemicals. To top it off, sugar is the BIG cause of all this weight gain--again throwing off the natural chemistry of the body. Okay, I've said my piece.
That's a lot of people getting diagnosed.
The perfect situation for a big pharma, for taxpayers, not so much.
I just saw a segment on the news a few nights ago how since the 60's everything served at restaurants have doubled amounts now and the calories have sometimes almost tripled, it's no wonder that we are growing by leaps and bounds
Awful statistics, rather scary but articles like this are so important. Thanks for another very informative post Graham.
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