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Prescribing costs for 2019 published

The Prescription Cost Analysis publication shows the total cost, and number of prescription items, for prescriptions that have been dispensed in the community in England.

These statistics are designed to be able to be used to give the total number of items and spend for any individual presentation or at any other level of the British National Formulary (BNF)1 hierarchy, for instance, antibacterial drugs or antidepressant drugs. They can also be used to give the proportion of prescription items and spend that are prescribed and dispensed generically. 

These statistics exclude prescriptions that were issued but were not presented for dispensing; and prescriptions that were not submitted to the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) for processing and reimbursement. Prescriptions issued and dispensed in prisons, hospitals and private prescriptions are also excluded.

Key findings:

The report includes the ten most prescribed drugs in 2019-20 by cost.

In March 2020 the NHSBSA changed the way it classifies its pharmaceutical product information. The names of drugs and appliances in the Prescription Cost Analysis publication are now aligned with the Dictionary of Medicines and Devices (DM+D).

Read the full report at:

This release is NHSBSA’s Publication Strategy in action, moving from being a provider to being a producer of Official Statistics. Publishing effectively is a crucial part of our vision of being a Catalyst for Better Health To read more go to


Notes for editors

  1. British National Formulary (BNF) is a pharmaceutical reference book that contains a wide spectrum of information and advice on prescribing and pharmacology, along with specific facts and details about many medicines available on the NHS It provides healthcare professionals with up-to-date about the use of medicines and includes key information on the selection, dispensing, prescribing and administration of medicines.