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Pharmaceutical prescription items dispensed in England 2006-2019

In the three years since 2016/17, there has been over one billion prescription items dispensed from pharmacies in England. The year with the highest single items dispensed was 2016/17, when approximately 1.02 billion items were dispensed, a significant increase from the 688 million items dispensed ten years previously.

Dispensing pharmacy numbers

The average amount of items dispensed at each pharmacy in 2018/19 works out at almost 7.3 thousand per month per pharmacy. Although, around 2.3 thousand pharmacies dispensed an average of over ten thousand items a month. Unsurprisingly, the average amount of prescriptions dispensed at each pharmacy has also increased greatly since 2006.  

What is being dispensed?

The therapeutic class with the highest total of prescription items dispensed was for the cardiovascular system at over 328 million drugs, followed by drugs for the central nervous system which had approximately 214 million items dispensed. The single leading drug dispensed, in 2018/19, was Atorvastatin which reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes in those with high cholesterol.

Number of prescription items dispensed in pharmacies in England from 2006/07 to 2018/19

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Release date

November 2019


United Kingdom (England)

Survey time period

2006/07 to 2018/19

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Statistics on "Pharmacy care in the United Kingdom"

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