FOI 27669



Freedom of Information Disclosure Log

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

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FOI 27669

Thank you for your request for information about the following:

‘Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I am requesting the following information on the prescribing of melatonin in England:

Please provide the following data regarding the prescribing of melatonin (BNF Section Code: 0401) in England:

• Number of patients prescribed melatonin between January 2015 and August 2022 broken down by: - Month; - Age group (0-17 years, 18-64 years, 65+ years); - Gender (Male and Female).’

Your request was received on 25 August 2022 and has been dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.


Patient counts/age etc pre April 2015

I am writing to advise you that following a search of our paper and electronic records, I have established that the information you requested is not held by the NHS Business Services Authority. We only hold patient information from April 2015 onwards.

July and August 2022

Your request was received in August so information for August was not held at the time your request was received. July prescriptions were still being processed at the time your request was received, meaning that data was not yet available. July data is now available. Please submit a fresh request if you wish to receive those figures. August data will become available in mid-late October.

April 2015 to June 2022

A copy of the information is attached.

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

NHSBSA Information Services Data Warehouse

Time Period

April 2015 to June 2022 inclusive (the request was for January 2015 to August 2022, but NHSBSA patient data is only available from April 2015, and the most recent prescribing data held by NHSBSA at the time the FOIN was produced was for June 2022).

Patient Age Band

Age band is based on patient age as captured during prescription processing. Where a patient has more than one age recorded in a month, they may appear in multiple age bands.

Patient Gender

Gender is shown as captured on the prescription form during processing. Where a patient has more than one gender recorded in a month, they will appear in more than one category.

Patients who could not be identified by means of a valid NHS number on the prescription form are not included in this analysis. Patients totals must not be added, in order to avoid double counting.


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.

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

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Last Updated September 26, 2022, 10:54 (UTC)
Created September 26, 2022, 10:51 (UTC)