FOI 32032



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 32032


‘Under the freedom of information act 2000 I am seeking the following data on prescriptions: England data of prescriptions dispensed in the community each month broken down by prescription charge exempt, one-off prescription charge and Pre Payment Certificate.

The time window I would like is from January 2010 - to the latest available data. If not all of this information is available can you please send me as much as you are able to?

A CSV file format is preferred. An example of how the data is that each column would represent each month and each row would represent the three charge categories: exempt, one-off charge and prepayment certificate. With the cells containing the numbers for prescriptions dispensed in each corresponding month/charge category’


2010 to 2013

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. Prescription payment data is held as far back as January 2014.

2014 Onwards

A copy of the information is attached.

One-Off Prescription Charge

The data which we have provided shows the number of items for which a charge was paid by the patient. The data we hold does not show whether these were “one-off” charges. For information on how prescription charges work in England, please see the below web link:

Remaining 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.

Time Period

January 2014 to December 2022 inclusive

Organisation Data

Only items that were dispensed in the community in England have been included.

Year Month

The year and month for which the claim for dispensed items has been submitted to NHSBSA.


The number of times a product appears on a prescription form.

Charge Status

The overall high level exemption rate (chargeable or exempt) is as robust as it can be in terms of the data we hold.

However the data in relation to the standalone figure for Pre-Payment Certificate does have significant limitations in terms of its quality.

This is due to how information has been captured during our scanning process and even for prescriptions received via the Electronic Prescribing System, normally higher quality data, there is considerable uncertainty due to the increasing use of the Real Time Exemption Checking service (RTEC). Exemptions determined using RTEC are classified as “No Declaration/Declaration Not Specific” and this is likely to include a large but unknown number of prescriptions for different exemption categories.

In the dataset the percentage of exempt from charge items that had the classification of “No Declaration/Declaration Not Specific” was as follows, by calendar year;

2014 6.24% 2015 5.43% 2016 4.67% 2017 4.22% 2018 3.73% 2019 3.47% 2020 3.67% 2021 8.04% 2022 16.06%

Within this dataset items with an exemption category of “No Declaration/Declaration Not Specific” have been given the classification of No Charge which in some cases will have been exempt due to a Pre-Payment Certificate.

Please note that this request and our response is published on our Freedom of Information disclosure log at:

Data and Resources

This dataset has no data

Additional Info

Field Value
Contact Information Governance
State active
Last Updated February 28, 2023, 12:26 (UTC)
Created February 28, 2023, 12:25 (UTC)