NHS hospital drug costs are set to surpass spending in primary careBMJ 2018; 361 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k1766 (Published 26 April 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k1766
- Nigel Hawkes
If current prescribing trends continue hospital spending will soon exceed that by GPs in England.
This trend—identified by data in a new report by the King’s Fund1—would mark a dramatic change since the beginning of this century, when primary care spending represented over 80% of the total.
Since then, costs in primary care have been contained, while those in hospitals have not. From 2010-11 to 2016-17 primary care spending on prescribing rose by only 0.6% a year, from £8.6bn to £9.0bn, while hospital spending rose at an average rate of 12.1% a year, from around £4.2bn to £8.3bn. As a result, hospital spending now represents 47.6% of the NHS’s total spending on medicines.
A lack of data
The report says that it is hard to pin down why hospital spending should be …