Published: 27/06/2002, Volume II2, No. 5811 Page 8

The cost of prescriptions in England rose by 9.5 per cent, or 6.9 per cent in real terms, to£6.117bn last year, according to the latest statistics from the Department of Health. Figures for 2001 show 587 million prescription items were dispensed, an increase of 6.4 per cent on 2000, of which 85 per cent dispensed in the community were free to patients.The average net ingredient cost per prescription item was£10.42, an increase of 3 per cent, or 0.4 per cent in real terms, on 2000.There was an average of 11.7 prescription items per head of population, compared to 11 in 2000.