Diabetes drugs 'account for 10% of annual prescribing bill'

Medicine to treat diabetes now accounts for 10% of the annual spend on prescriptions, new figures show.

Some £868.6 million was spent on ingredients for diabetes sufferers during the last year, an increase of £65.5 million on the previous 12 months, according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

There are 3.9 million people in the UK with type 2 diabetes - the most common kind - which is linked to increasing levels of obesity, unhealthy diets and a lack of exercise, with a further 590,000 people estimated to have not yet been diagnosed.

Report author Ian Bullard said: "Today's report looks at trends in prescribing for medicines used to treat diabetes in England.

"It shows that 10p in the pound of the primary care prescribing bill in England is being spent on managing diabetes.

"Diabetes continues to be one of the most prevalent long-term conditions, and the number of patients being diagnosed with the condition is increasing each year."

Dr Jim O'Brien, for Public Health England, said: "It's not just the high personal cost of living with diabetes, treating it costs the NHS billions every year.

"That's why we're working with partners to deliver the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme. It will help stop people at risk getting type 2 diabetes by supporting them to lose weight, be more active and follow a healthier diet, reducing the burden on them, but also on the NHS."

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