An NHS report revealed that there has been a 40% increase in the cost and number of drugs used to treat diabetes in England over the last five years.
Primary care units across England incurred a cost of nearly Â£650 million in 2009/10 after dispensing more than 35.5 million prescription items, the NHS Information Centre has found.
In comparison in 2004/5 units dispensed around 24.8 million items at a cost of Â£458.6 million.
According to the report, Prescribing for Diabetes in England: 2004/5 to 2009/10, the prevalence of diabetes in England has increased from 3.3% in 2004/5 to 4.1% in 2009/10.
As a result, the number of items being prescribed and the related costs have also increased.
The relatively high cost for some of the newer drugs used to treat diabetes has had a large impact.
Director of Care, Information and Advocacy at Diabetes UK, Simon O’Neill, said: “This large rise in diabetes drug prescriptions and costs appears to be equally due to the far greater population of people with diabetes and to the wider prescribing of newer and more expensive therapies.
“The long-term costs of poor diabetes management i.e. care for someone who’s had a heart attack or stroke, lost their sight or lower limb, far outweigh those of the drugs that help prevent such devastating complications.”