Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I am requesting the following information on prescription items dispensed in the community on a monthly basis from January 2014 to the most recent date available:
Total number of items dispensed in the community
Number of items dispensed by distance selling pharmacies in the community
If available, please provide the number of distance selling pharmacies over the same time period. If any particular elements of the above request are prohibitive, please contact me via email to amend the request
A copy of the information is attached.
NHSBSA Prescription Services process prescriptions and information is then used to make payments to pharmacists and appliance contractors (in England)
for prescriptions dispensed in primary care settings. This involves processing approximately 1 billion prescription items and payments totalling over
£9 billion each year. The information gathered from this process is then used to provide information on costs and trends in prescribing in England and Wales
to over 25,000 registered NHS and Department of Health users.
Time Period - January 2014 - December 2021 (latest available)
The data provides:
• The total number of items dispensed in the community,
• The number of items dispensed by distance selling pharmacies in the community
• The number of distance selling pharmacies broken down by month from January 2014 to December 2021 (latest available)
Items - The number of items show the number of times a product appears on a prescription form not the quantity prescribed.
• Distance selling pharmacies were only recorded as such in NHSBSA systems from 2016, so the numbers for the early months of 2016 are not exhaustive, but just the number that we have recorded.
• Figures for distance selling pharmacies includes only english pharmacies, and not appliance contractors or pharmacies outside of England.
• The number of distance selling pharmacies listed are ALL distance selling pharmacies, not just those who have dispensed items.
• The data provided is based on items dispensed in England only
The data excludes:
• Items not dispensed, disallowed and those returned to the contractor for further clarification.
• Prescriptions prescribed and dispensed in Prisons, Hospitals and Private prescriptions.
• Items prescribed but not presented for dispensing or not submitted to NHS Prescription Services by the dispenser.
Please note that this request and our response is published on our Freedom of Information disclosure log at:
If you have any queries regarding the data provided, or if you plan on publishing the data please contact firstname.lastname@example.org ensuring you quote the above reference. This is important to ensure that the figures are not misunderstood or misrepresented.
If you plan on producing a press or broadcast story based upon the data please contact email@example.com. This is important to ensure that the figures are not misunderstood or misrepresented.
Should you wish to re-use the information you must include the following statement:
“NHSBSA Information Services Data Warehouse, NHSBSA Copyright 2022” This information is licenced under the terms of the Open Government Licence:
Failure to do so is a breach of the terms of the licence.
Information you receive which is not subject to NHSBSA Copyright continues to be protected by the copyright of the person, or organisation, from which the information originated. Please obtain their permission before reproducing any third party (non NHSBSA Copyright) information.