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The Government has released figures which show that the NHS spent almost 20 times more on generic antidepressants than it did on branded Prozac (fluoxetine) last year.
The data shows that almost £18m was spent on generics over the period, and that five million prescriptions were written out for the drugs.
However, it is believed that the final bill will be much higher as the total does not include costs associated with their use in hospitals.
Health minister Ivan Lewis released the information in a speech to MPs in the House of Commons.
He said: “Prozac is the trade name of the version of the antidepressant drug fluoxetine marketed by Lilly. Other versions are available.
“In the 12 months October 2006 to September 2007, there were 38,679 prescription items dispensed in the community for Prozac at a net ingredient cost of £897,616.
“In addition there were 4,938,722 prescriptions for generic fluoxetine or other branded versions of the drug dispensed at a cost of £17,915,210.”
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