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Prescriptions bill doubles in Scotland


The bill for prescriptions in Scotland has rocketed in the last 10 years to nearly £1bn, new figures show.

The total cost to the NHS of drugs dispensed outside of hospitals in 2006-7 reached £998m – the equivalent of £184 for every person registered with a GP.

During the year 2005-6 the bill was £970m, but back in 1996-7 it stood at just £517m.

The number of prescriptions also rose 2.9% between 2005-6 and last year. Some 79.5 million were handed out in the 12-month period, almost 25 million more than in 1996-7, when there were just 55 million prescriptions dispensed.

Aspirin was the most commonly prescribed medication in 2006-7, with the drug mainly given to people to prevent heart disease.

And the most expensive prescription drug was atorvastatin, which is used to lower levels of cholesterol and fats in the blood.

Most prescriptions were issued by GPs, but there was a 21.7% increase in the number that were issued by nurse prescribers last year.

Around 81% of all prescriptions in 2006-7 were for generic versions of drugs, indicating that doctors are trying to keep costs down by not prescribing branded medications.

Copyright © PA Business 2007

NHS Scotland

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