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Prescription Cost Analysis - England 2019

Correction notice - a column was omitted from the presentation level tables of the latest release

Read our correction notices page for full details. Go to our Office for Statistics Regulation Assessment page to view their assessment of Prescription Cost Analysis - England.

Published 16 April 2020.

This page was last reviewed and updated 14 January 2021.


Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) provides details of the number of items and the Net Ingredient Cost (NIC) of all prescriptions dispensed in the community in England.

The Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) publication is a National Statistic release. National Statistics Status means that PCA meets the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality, public value, and complies with all aspects of the Code of Practice for Statistics.

The designation of this release as a National Statistic was confirmed in January 2012 following an assessment by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR). This release has been subject to a further assessment by OSR which concluded in October 2020. OSR identified six requirements for us to address to make sure the high standards associated with National Statistics designation are met. Read details of these requirements and the actions we're taking to address them.

The release of this publication is the first in a series by us following a public consultation by NHS Digital.

Key findings 

In 2019, the cost of the prescriptions dispensed in the community in England was £9.08 billion. This was an increase of 2.81% (£248 million) from £8.83 billion in 2018.

The overall number of prescription items dispensed in the community in England in 2019 was 1.12 billion. This was an increase of 0.98% (10.9 million) from 1.109 billion in 2018.

Resource list

Prescription Cost Analysis 2019 – Statistical summary narrative (HTML)

Prescription Cost Analysis 2019 – Statistical summary tables (Excel: 3.8MB)Prescription Cost Analysis 2019 – Additional tables (Excel: 147KB)
Prescription Cost Analysis 2019 – Presentation data 2014 to 2019

Prescription Cost Analysis 2019 – Pre-release access list (PDF: 145KB)Prescription Cost Analysis 2019 – Background information and methodology note (PDF: 301KB)Prescription Cost Analysis 2019 – User engagement strategy (PDF: 285KB)

Notice of changes to this publication

In line with principle Q2.5: Sound methods, within the Code of Practice for Statistics, we want to be transparent.

We previously told you about the NHSBSA moving to a single database as the source of all drug data we report on. This was to:

  • align our data with the NHS Dictionary of Medicines of Devices (dm+d)
  • make our data products easier to use
  • make our drug information more accurate
  • allow for better direct comparisons and linking with other sources of drug data

This has resulted in some changes to the 2019 PCA publication. You can view more information on the impact of these changes in the background information and methodology note (PDF: 325KB).

To help with this transition, and let you view a consistent trend over time as far back as we can, we've reproduced and released the presentation data in this publication from 2014 to 2019 with this release.

Read more about the changes being made, and their impact on other data that we release not as Official Statistics.


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The survey takes about 5 minutes to complete. All responses will remain anonymous and you will not be identifiable in any report we produce. You can view our privacy policy to see how your data is used and stored.

Links to other versions

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Monthly data

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Contact us

If you have any questions, comments, or would like more information you can email

Responsible statistician: Matthew Wilson.