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Cost of drugs for treating alcohol dependence tops £3 million for the first time in UK

The cost to the NHS of drugs dispensed to treat topped £3 million in 2013, new figures show.

Today’s report from the () shows the Net Ingredient Cost (NIC) cost of alcohol dependence drugs in England increased by almost £200,000 to £3.13 million in 2013, a rise of 6.7 per cent on 2012 (£2.93 million).

In total almost 184,000 prescription items were dispensed in primary care and NHS hospitals in 2013. This is a rise of 3.1 per cent (178,000) on the previous year and a 78.9 per cent rise on ten years ago (103,000).

Statistics on Alcohol – England, 2014 uses a number of data sources, some previously published, to provide a detailed insight into patterns of use, behaviours and attitudes towards drinking alcohol among adults and children. New analyses of prescribing data and limited new analyses of alcohol-related are published today. Further analysis will be published in June.

Today’s report shows:

  • In 2012-13 there were over one million alcohol-related hospital admissions based on primary and secondary diagnoses and almost two in three of these were male (65 per cent).
  • North East Region recorded the highest rate of alcohol-related admissions (2,500 per 100,000 population) and the South East Region recorded the lowest (1,500 admissions per 100,000 population).4
  • In 2012 there were 6,490 alcohol-related deaths, a fall of 4.2 per cent on 2011 (6,770) and of these almost two thirds were caused by alcoholic liver disease (4,080)

Information from the HSCIC’s Health Survey for England (HSE) suggests that the percentage of people in Great Britain who regularly drink is falling. Between 2005 and 2012 the percentage of men who drank alcohol in the week before being interviewed fell from 72 to 64, and from 57 to 52 in women.

HSE data also shows:

Between 2005 and 2012 there was a fall from 22 per cent to 14 in the percentage of men who were frequent drinkers (those who drank alcohol on at least five days in the week before being interviewed), and from 13 per cent to nine per cent in women.

HSCIC Chair Kingsley Manning said: “Today’s report highlights one of the areas of impact that alcohol dependence has on our NHS. The fact there has been a rise of nearly 70 per cent in the prescribing of alcohol dependence drugs over the last decade is striking.

“These data provide an insight into the effect of alcohol on services, and will offer a better understanding to the public, health professionals and policy makers into this on-going public health issue.”

You can read the full report at http://www.hscic.gov.uk/pubs/alcohol14


Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC)