In 2022, the NHS spent a ‘shocking’ £1.5 billion on diabetes drugs, the highest figure since records began.

Over the last five years, the cost of insulin and metformin has increased by 50% due to rising obesity rates triggering a surge of type 2 diabetes cases.

Being overweight can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a condition which can be reversed by losing weight.

Tam Fry, Chair of the National Obesity Forum, said: “We should actually be trying to prevent obesity in the first place.”

More than three million people living with diabetes were prescribed drugs in 2022/23, up 2.7 million from 2015/16.

Last year, nearly 66 million prescriptions were administered for people living with diabetes, equivalent to 180,000 per day.

According to the reports, roughly 15% of these prescriptions were for semaglutide, otherwise known under its brand name Ozempic.

“We are now entering an era which I believe is hugely concerning. We have now got into a ridiculous situation,” said Mr Fry.

He added: “For weight loss and obesity, it is totally inappropriate to use if you are not a BMI of over 35.

“To me it is absolutely bananas that we are now starting to spend a lot of money for quite an expensive drug when we should be actually trying to prevent obesity in the first place.”

Metformin is the most common treatment option for type 2 diabetes. It helps the body respond to insulin.

Charlotte Summers, Director of DDM Health, said: “There is an urgent need for proactive measures to address the root causes of obesity. We firmly believe in the power of precision weight loss as a means to sustain a healthy weight. Prevention is the most sustainable and cost-effective approach.”

“By focusing on personalised weight loss strategies, we can help individuals reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes and alleviate the financial burden on our healthcare system.”

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