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Prescribing for Diabetes – England – 2015/16 to 2022/23

Published 10 August 2023.


Diabetes features as one of the priorities for care and quality outcomes in the NHS Long Term Plan

This publication aims to describe the prescribing of medicines and appliances, used for the treatment of diabetes in a primary care setting in England, that are dispensed in the community. This does not include data on medicines used in secondary care, prisons, or issued by a private prescriber.

The Prescribing for Diabetes publication is an experimental Official Statistic release.

Key findings

  • In 2022/23, there were 66 million drug items used in treating diabetes prescribed in England for a cost of £1.53 billion, 15% of the total spend on all prescription items prescribed in England. This was an increase of 16 million items and £570 million from 2015/16 where 50 million diabetes items were prescribed in England for a cost of £960 million, representing 10% of the total spend on all prescription items.
  • Antidiabetic drugs were the most prescribed drugs used in treating diabetes in England in 2022/23 with 49 million items at a cost of £880 million. The costs of antidiabetic drugs have increased by 107% since 2015/16 from £420 million.
  • There were 3.4 million identified patients that were prescribed drugs used in diabetes in England in 2022/23. This was a 6% increase from 3.2 million identified patients in 2021/22, and a 26% increase from 2.7 million in 2015/16.
  • The most common group to receive prescribing for drugs used in diabetes in 2022/23 was male patients aged 60 to 64 with 250,000 identified patients. The next most common groups were male patients aged 65 to 69 and male patients aged 70 to 74.
  • Areas of greater deprivation had the highest number of identified patients who were being prescribed drugs used in treating diabetes in 2022/23. There were 320,000 more patients receiving prescribing in the most deprived areas of the country compared to the least deprived.

Resource list

Prescribing for Diabetes England 2022/23 - Statistical summary narrative (HTML)

Costs and items summary tables (Excel: 242KB)

Patient demographics summary tables (Excel: 209KB)

Background information and methodology note (HTML)

User engagement strategy (HTML)

Pre-release access list (HTML)


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Responsible statistician: Graham Platten