Cost of hospital prescribing rose 15% in a year owing to new rheumatoid arthritis and cancer drugs

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 17 November 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6867
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

The total cost to the NHS in England of prescribed drugs rose by more than £1bn to £14.4bn (€18.2bn; $22.7bn) in 2013-14, new data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show.1

By far the sharpest rise was in hospital prescribing, where the total spend rose by 15.1% to almost £5.8bn. The total spend in primary care was greater, at almost £8.5bn, but the increase over 2012-13 was smaller, at 3.2%.

The faster rise in hospital spending was attributed to the introduction of innovative drugs, which are more likely to be dispensed in hospitals and which are in general more expensive. Seven prescribed drugs cost more than …

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