Pharmacy chiefs have issued a warning over “huge” amounts of medicines being wasted as it emerged prescriptions have leapt 70% in the past decade.
In 2010, there were 927 million prescription items dispensed across England - a 68% rise on 2000, costing as much as £8.83bn. This compares with a 4.6% rise on 2009 levels. For every person in England, the average cost per head was £169 in 2010, compared with £113 11 years ago and £165 in 2009.
Cardiovascular drugs treating high blood pressure and heart failure made up the highest number of prescriptions, with the most expensive items being used to treat people with central nervous system disorders or diabetes.
In the wake of the figures from the NHS Information Centre, Mike Holden, chief executive of the National Pharmacy Association, said: “There is a huge amount of waste. Up to half of all medicines for long-term conditions are not taken as intended by the prescriber.
“There is no doubt that much more value for patients and the taxpayer could be extracted from this massive investment by supporting more effective medicines use.”