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Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 6th March 2019.

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Photo of Daniel Zeichner Daniel Zeichner Labour, Cambridge

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of prescriptions dispensed in the community for nicotine replacement therapy in each year since 2010.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The following table shows the number of nicotine dependence prescription items dispensed in the community, via an FP10 form, in England 2010-17. There are various other routes in which such medication can be supplied to a patient from the National Health Service including from community pharmacies via voucher schemes and a direct supply to patients from a Patient Group Direction, this data is not collected centrally.

Bupropion Hydrochloride

Nicotine replacement therapy

Varenicline Tartrate

Total nicotine dependence

2010

39,298

1,549,892

955,242

2,544,432

2011

32,290

1,580,051

994,775

2,607,116

2012

27,790

1,397,993

891,110

2,316,893

2013

23,719

1,138,522

741,506

1,903,747

2014

21,980

841,077

588,500

1,451,557

2015

21,831

667,877

517,228

1,206,936

2016

22,341

567,087

418,527

1,007,955

2017

23,338

494,614

395,808

913,760

Source: Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) NHS Digital

Notes:

Prescriptions are written on a prescription form known as an FP10. Each single item written on the form is counted as a prescription item.

PCA Data

Prescription information is taken from the PCA system, supplied by NHS Prescription Services, a division of NHS Business Services Authority, and is based on a full analysis of all prescriptions dispensed in the community i.e. by community pharmacists and appliance contractors, dispensing doctors, and prescriptions submitted by prescribing doctors for items personally administered in England. Also included are prescriptions written in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man but dispensed in England. The data do not cover drugs dispensed in hospitals, including mental health trusts, or private prescriptions.

Prescribers are general practitioners, hospital doctors, dentists and non-medical prescribers such as nurses and pharmacists.

British National Formulary (BNF) Classifications

The PCA system uses the therapeutic classifications defined in the BNF using the classification system prior to edition 70. Information on why a drug is prescribed is not available in this dataset. Since drugs can be prescribed to treat more than one condition, it may not be possible to separate the different conditions for which a drug may have been prescribed.

The primary purpose of the BNF is to provide information for clinicians. The format of the BNF was changed with Edition 70 (September 2015 - March 2016) to make it more user friendly. However, the NHS Business Service Authority, who process dispensed prescription forms and collects dispensed prescribing data and produce the PCA data, continue to use the old BNF classification system to code medicines, which has become widely used in the United Kingdom as a classification to allow comparisons between drug groups. For example, it is used to report cost and trend in medicines use and supports several NHS Digital official publications. The data are used in many NHS IT systems.

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