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10-year trends in English primary care glaucoma prescribing

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jeffry Hogg


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© 2019, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to The Royal College of Ophthalmologists.Background: In 2018 NHS prescriptions in England cost £8.83 billion. Within ophthalmic prescribing, glaucoma is the most costly indication. The 2017 glaucoma NICE guideline shows there is little evidence for clinical preference of particular molecules within a therapeutic class, yet the cost of these products varies greatly. We aim to describe trends in glaucoma prescribing and its relation to recent NICE Guidance. Methods: Prescription cost analyses for England from 2009 to 2018 were reviewed and data concerning items for the treatment of glaucoma were extracted. Costs and prescription frequencies were normalised for inflation and population. Results: The 2018 cost of glaucoma prescribing was £114.2 million. This cost is 18.1% lower than in 2009 but the annual number of items prescribed per 10,000 people has increased from 1382 to 1668 (20.7%). This is despite an increased prescription of combination drops from 265 to 478 per 10,000 (80.4%). Preservative free item prescriptions rose from 1.7% of total spend in 2009, at £3.4 million in 2009, to 13.9%, in 2018, at £22.5 million. Generic items represented 11.7% of prescriptions in 2009 and 55.2% in 2018. Around half of glaucoma spending is accounted for by the use of preservative free or branded items in the place of the cheapest item in each therapeutic class. Conclusions: Glaucoma prescribing costs the NHS a great deal. There is a broad trend to generic prescribing as per recent NICE guidance, but significant further costs could be saved with no robustly evidenced clinical consequence.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hogg HDJ, Connor A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Eye

Year: 2020

Volume: 34

Pages: 192-196

Print publication date: 01/01/2020

Online publication date: 04/11/2019

Acceptance date: 02/10/2019

ISSN (print): 0950-222X

ISSN (electronic): 1476-5454

Publisher: Springer Nature


DOI: 10.1038/s41433-019-0656-z

PubMed id: 31685974


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