New figures show that the diabetes drugs bill for the NHS is £2.2 million per day but, this pales in comparison to the cost of diabetes complications which is ten times higher.
Figures provided by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), from the Prescribing for Diabetes report, show that the cost of prescriptions for diabetes has increased by 56.3% since 2005-2006. By comparison, the rise in diabetes diagnoses has been around 50% as 1.8 million people were diagnosed with diabetes in 2005 compared with 2.7 million in 2014.
The class of drugs that represent the greatest expense to the NHS is analogue insulin which cost the NHS £289 million in the year 2013-2014. By comparison, blood glucose monitoring supplies cost £172 million within the last year.
With the rising prevalence of diabetes driving the growth in cost of diabetes drugs, action to prevent diabetes developing is an important part of limiting the costs of diabetes.
Whilst Clinical Commissioning Groups may feel under pressure to reduce the prescribing costs of diabetes, they should recognise the importance of people having access to effective diabetes medication and the means to manage their diabetes as this will prevent the cost of diabetes complications from growing. With complications representing ten times the cost of diabetes drugs and monitoring supplies, any short sighted cost cutting could represent a much greater cost increase in terms of diabetes complications.

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