NHS: Drugs

Health written question – answered on 12th July 2007.

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Photo of Andrew Lansley Andrew Lansley Shadow Secretary of State for Health

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) total NHS expenditure on medicines and (b) NHS spending per head on medicines has been in each year since 1997-98 (i) for England and (ii) broken down by strategic health authority area.

Photo of Dawn Primarolo Dawn Primarolo Minister of State (Department of Health) (Public Health)

The following tables give total national health service expenditure on medicines since 1997-98 and is broken down by (a) primary care and (b) the hospital and community health service (HCHS).

Primary care medicines expenditure is the total actual cost of drugs and appliances prescribed by general practitioners/nurses within England plus any central budget expenditure or locally authorised payments.

HCHS expenditure on drugs includes medical gases.

The Department does not publish the drugs bill on a per capita basis. The per capita figures have been derived from Office of National Statistics mid-year total population estimates for England, and do not take into account age related demand for drugs.

A times-series breakdown by strategic health authority (SHA) area is not available as this data are not collated by SHA centrally.

Cash terms
Total outturn (£ million) Per capita (£) Of which: primary (£ million) Per capita (£) Of which: HCHS (£ million) Per capita (£)
1997-98 5,173 106.3 4,085 83.9 1,088 22.4
1998-99 5,550 113.7 4,339 88.9 1,211 24.8
1999-2000 6,202 126.5 4,833 98.6 1,369 27.9
Resource terms (from 2000-01)
Total outturn (£ million) Per capita (£) Of which: primary (£ million) Per capita (£) Of which: HCHS (£ million) Per capita (£)
2000-01 6,688 135.8 5,158 104.8 1,530 31.1
2001-02 7,447 150.6 5,707 115.4 1,740 35.2
2002-03 8,355 168.3 6,342 127.7 2,013 40.5
2003-04 9,271 186.0 6,960 139.6 2,311 46.4
2004-05 9,965 198.9 7,370 147.1 2,595 51.8
2005-06 9,979 197.9 7,215 143.1 2,764 54.8

1. Figures are net which include pharmaceutical price regulation scheme (PPRS) receipt savings.

2. The total drugs spend include drugs expenditure in primary care and the HCHS. The primary care expenditure reflects amounts paid to pharmacy and appliance contractors and amounts authorised for dispending doctors and personal administration in England. HCHS expenditure includes drugs and medical gases.

3. From 2000-01 figures are in resource terms, prior to this figures are in cash terms. Cash figures relate to February to January prescribing due to delay in prescription processing and payment calculations. Resource figures represent the actual cost between April to March.


Prescription pricing division of the NHS Business Services Authority, England and Department of Health Finance Division.

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