A nation of pill poppers: Record 1.1 BILLION prescriptions written in 2017 as figures reveal the 20 most popular drugs but critics slam the NHS for spending millions on paracetamol
- Some 1.1 billion drugs were dispensed by pharmacists across England in 2017
- NHS Digital figures today show that statins were the most common prescription
- Campaigners blasted the statistics, which showed the NHS spent £9.1 billion
By Stephen Matthews For Mailonline PUBLISHED: 16 March 2018 |
A record number of prescriptions were dished out by the NHS last year, official figures reveal.
More than 1.1 billion drugs were dispensed by pharmacists across England in 2017 – the most since charts began 10 years ago.
Statins were the most common prescription across England – with more than 72.6 million prescribed. There were also 71.5 million prescriptions for high blood pressure and heart failure drugs.
Campaigners have today blasted the statistics, which also provided a full breakdown of the £9.1 billion the NHS spent on prescriptions last year.
John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said money was being ‘wasted’ on items available much cheaper in the supermarket.
The figures show health chiefs spent around £80 million on aspirin and paracetamol, which can be bought for pennies at supermarkets.
NHS Digital figures show that statins were the most common prescription across England – with more than 62 million prescribed
Each prescription of the 20 million paracetamol prescriptions cost the NHS £3.07. A pack of 16 tablets can be picked up for 20p at shops.
Number crunching by MailOnline shows the cash-strapped health service could have saved roughly £57 million by not giving out paracetamol.
On top of the higher prices, suppliers charge the NHS substantial delivery and administration costs to ship these products to pharmacies.
Figures also showed more than £16 million was spent on gluten free foods – which critics have previously claimed was a scandal.
Mr O’Connell called for NHS bosses to ‘think again’ about their priorities.
He said: ‘At a time when the NHS is failing to meet basic targets for cancer diagnosis, it can’t be right that taxpayers’ money is being wasted on basic items that are much cheaper to buy in the supermarket than they are to prescribe.