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Atorvastatin most-dispensed drug in community for second year running

A drug used to manage cholesterol levels has been named as the most-dispensed drug in the community in England for the second year in a row.

The number of prescription items for Atorvastatin stood at 53.4 million in 2021/22, up from 49.9m items the previous year, according to data released today (June 9) by the NHS Business Service Authority (NHS BSA).


Four of the 10 most dispensed chemical substances in 2021/22 – Atorvastatin, Amlodipine, Ramipril, and Bisoprolol fumarate – are used to treat cardiovascular issues, the data showed.



Read more: Updated Nice guideline for blood pressure in adults: what’s new?



The number of prescription items dispensed in the community in England rose by 28.7m (2.6%) between 2020/21 and 2021/22 – from 1.1 billion items to 1.14bn items, according to the data.


Meanwhile, prescription item costs rose by £83.7m to £9.69bn during the same period, marking a 0.87% increase in just a year. It is the third year in a row that these costs have increased, following three consecutive years where prescription item costs went down.


Spending on the FreeStyle Libre 2 Sensor glucose monitoring kit rose by £69.8m in the year leading up to 2021/22, representing the item with the largest absolute cost increase that year, the data showed.


Meanwhile, the anticoagulant Apixaban was the drug with the highest cost – with spending reaching £401m.

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