Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) is a National Statistic. It provides details of the number of items and the Net Ingredient Cost (NIC) of all prescriptions dispensed in the community in England.
As well as the annual PCA National Statistics, a monthly administrative management information dataset is released by NHSBSA Prescription Information Services. This is available from February 2008 onwards. This monthly data is produced with the same methodology applied as the annual national statistics. However, it is not an Official Statistic.
There is a small difference between the annual PCA release and the monthly administrative data. This means that they may not match exactly. In the annual PCA National Statistics, the classification of a drug is taken from the latest month in the data, and all data attributed to that classification even if it has changed throughout the year. The monthly PCA data uses the classification of the drug as it was in the month the data relates to.
For example, if a drug changed classification in July of the given year to an appliance, in the annual PCA National Statistics all data would be shown against the record that has been classified as an appliance. In the monthly PCA data, the drug would be shown as a drug in the months up to July, and then would be displayed as an appliance in the July data onwards. This would also apply if a drug changed classification from being a generic drug with only proprietary versions available (class 2) to a generic drug with generic versions available (class 1). In the annual PCA National Statistics, all data for the year would be shown against the class 1 record. In the monthly PCA data, it would be shown against the class 2 record up until the month that the drug changed classification.