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Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) consultation

This page was last reviewed and updated 26 March 2021.


We asked

We invited feedback on our proposed plans to make changes to the underlying methodology used in the Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) – England National Statistics publication. The consultation took place from 21 December 2020 to 15 February 2021.

We consulted with users to:

  • obtain feedback on proposed methodology changes to the PCA National Statistics publication
  • understand if the current publication fully meets user needs
  • understand the usefulness of expanding the content of the publication, including geographical breakdowns and further drug classifications
  • better grasp how a move to reporting by financial year would impact users
  • understand if the inclusion of Secondary Care Medicines Data would be useful to users

You said

We received 2 responses to the consultation. One submitted by the online form and the other was received by email. Both responses were submitted on behalf of organisations rather than from individuals. We also engaged directly with a number of stakeholders to discuss the consultation and the recommended changes. This included the Department of Health and Social Care.

We are grateful for the responses that we received. Overall, the responses were fairly supportive of the proposed changes. Although, one raised significant concern about an element of the new methodology.

Users also told us that they:

  • generally support our intention to enrich the PCA publication with further geographical breakdowns and expanded drug classifications
  • saw the usefulness of moving to a financial year view but still required calendar year data to be released to provide continuity

We did

We intend to:

  • adopt the new methodology outlined in this response for the annual PCA National Statistics
  • adopt the new methodology outlined in this response for the monthly management information PCA data set to ensure that all forms of PCA are consistent to make user journeys easier
  • engage with users after this transition to address concerns raised about the utility of the changes to explore their impacts
  • release more guidance about the changes to the PCA publication, including how users can still get data on drugs prescribed generically from the new format
  • transition to a financial year view alongside releasing data for a calendar year to provide continuity
  • enhance the annual PCA National Statistics with additional drug and geographical information

We did not receive enough feedback about the Secondary Care Medicines Data from this consultation to make a truly informed decision regarding its inclusion in the PCA publication. We will continue with the separate Prescribing Costs in Hospitals and the Community publication and engage with users in the future regarding its content.

Consultation response

You can view the full range of responses we received in relation to this consultation in our consultation response.

NHSBSA Prescription Cost Analysis Consultation Response (PDF: 290KB)

Contact us

If you would like more information about this consultation, email