NHS Digital is unable to determine which drugs are purely probiotic or prebiotic supplements, but has agreed with the Department to provide primary care data from the Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) on the net ingredient cost (NIC) for:
Vivomixx (BNF code 091104000BBNUA0)
Symprove (BNF code 090900000BBKTA0)
These products have all been identified as probiotics by manufacturers upon application to the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances.
PCA data is based on a full analysis of all prescriptions prescribed in the United Kingdom and dispensed in the community in England. A time series for the years 2014 to 2018 is provided in the following table.
NIC of prescription items dispensed in the community in England for the three specified probiotic and prebiotics
British National Formulary Code and Drug Name
091104000BBNMA0 VSL#3_Probiotic Food Supp Pdr Sach 4.4g
091104000BBNUA0 Vivomixx_Pdr Sach 4.4g
090900000BBKTA0 Symprove_Drink (2 Flav)
Source: Prescription Cost Analysis
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.
NIC is the basic cost of a drug as used in primary care. This is the cost at list price excluding VAT, i.e. the price listed in the national Drug Tariff or in standard price lists and is not necessarily the price the National Health Service paid. It does not take into account any contract prices or discounts, dispensing costs, fees or prescription charge income, so the amount the NHS paid will be different.
Prescriptions are prescribed either by a paper prescription form or via an Electronic Prescription Service message. Each single item prescribed is counted as a prescription item.