FOI 26594



Freedom of Information Disclosure Log

The NHSBSA's responses to Freedom of Information requests. read more


Open Government Licence 2.0 (United Kingdom) [Open Data]

FOI 26594


‘I am writing with regard to a Freedom of Information request which you kindly dealt with for us. I would like to make a new request under the Freedom of Information Act, for the following data:

The reference number for the previous request is 25488 and we would like a re-run of this for the latest data, i.e. for the month of May 2022 only.’


A copy of the information you have requested is attached.

Please read the below notes to ensure correct understanding of the data.

NHS Prescription Services process prescriptions for Pharmacy Contractors, Appliance Contractors, Dispensing Doctors and Personal Administration with information then used to make payments to pharmacists and appliance contractors in England for prescriptions dispensed in primary care settings (other arrangements are in place for making payments to Dispensing Doctors and Personal Administration). This involves processing over 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 and Social Care users.

Data Source

The data source was the NHSBSA Information Services Data Warehouse.


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 data for drugs flagged in our database as Schedule 2 and 3 controlled drugs have been excluded from this dataset for physical security reasons to prevent the identification of organisations with high levels of controlled drug dispensing.

Time Period

Month of May 2022

Organisation Data

The data provided is for prescriptions dispensed in England. The ODS code of the dispenser is shown in the column DISPENSER_CODE.


The BNF Code is a 15 digit code in which the first seven digits are allocated according to the categories in the BNF and the last 8 digits represent the medicinal product, form, strength and the link to the generic equivalent product. NHS Prescription Services has created pseudo BNF chapters, which are not published, for items not included in BNF chapters 1 to 15. The majority of such items are dressings and appliances which NHS Prescription Services has classified into four pseudo BNF chapters (20 to 23).

Items (column name ITEMS)

Items shows the number of times a product appears on a prescription form not the quantity prescribed.

Total Quantity (column name TOTAL_QUANTITY)

Total quantity is the number of items multiplied by the quantity prescribed. e.g. 2 items prescribed, one with a quantity of 2 and one with a quantity of 3, the total quantity would show as 5 (1 item x quantity of 2) + (1 item x quantity of 3).

Net Ingredient Cost (column name NIC)

Net Ingredient Cost is the basic price of a drug as stated in Part II Clause 8 of the Drug Tariff but please note that where a price concession for items listed in Part VIII of the Drug Tariff has been agreed between the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee the NIC will reflect the concession price rather than the Drug Tariff price. The data is shown in GBP.

This set is over 1 million rows of data and it may be that you will need to use add-ons already existing on Microsoft Excel to enable you to view the data set in its entirety.

Microsoft PowerPivot add-on for Excel can be used to handle larger data sets.

The Microsoft PowerPivot add-on for Excel is available using the link in the 'Related Links' section below:

Once PowerPivot has been installed, to load the large files, please follow the instructions below:

  1. Start Excel as normal
  2. Click on the PowerPivot tab
  3. Click on the PowerPivot Window icon (top left)
  4. In the PowerPivot Window, click on the "From Other Sources" icon
  5. In the Table Import Wizard e.g. scroll to the bottom and select Text File
  6. Browse to the file you want to open and choose the file extension you require e.g. CSV

Data Queries

If you have any queries regarding the data provided, or if you plan on publishing the data please contact 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 This is important to ensure that the figures are not misunderstood or misrepresented.

The information supplied to you continues to be protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and is subject to NHSBSA copyright. This information is licenced under the terms of the Open Government Licence detailed at:

Should you wish to re-use the information you must include the following statement: “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.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Contact Information Governance
Version 1.0
State active
Last Updated August 15, 2022, 12:06 (UTC)
Created August 15, 2022, 11:26 (UTC)