Prescription Cost Analysis in England (PCA)

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Community Prescribing & Dispensing

Datasets on the prescribing and dispensing of medicines in the community read more

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UK Open Government Licence (OGL) [Open Data]

Prescription Cost Analysis in England (PCA)

The PCA release is an Official Statistic with National Statistic designation.

The lowest granularity of data in the publication is added here, this contains information on all prescription items dispensed in England for a calendar year at individual presentation level, taken from the summary tables released with the annual publication, and each calendar year back to 2014.

To view each year’s full statistical release you can visit our website.

Detailed information about this data including methodologies used can be found in the Background Information and Methodology Note released alongside this statistical release.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Source NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) Data Warehouse
Contact nhsbsa.statistics@nhs.net
Version v001
State active
Last Updated April 16, 2020, 13:10 (UTC)
Created April 15, 2020, 14:24 (UTC)

Data Dictionary

Column Title Type Description
calendarYear Calendar Year integer

The calendar year that the data relates to.

presentationBNFDescription BNF presentation name string

The name given to the specific type, strength, and formulation of a drug; or, the specific type of an appliance. For example, Paracetamol 500mg tablets.

presentationBNFCode BNF code string

The unique code used to refer to a BNF Presentation.

chemSubBNFDescription BNF chemical substance name string

The name of the main active ingredient in a drug. Appliances do not hold a chemical substance, but instead inherit the corresponding BNF section. Determined by the British National Formulatory (BNF) for drugs, or the NHS BSA for appliances. For example, Amoxicillin.

chemSubBNFCode BNF chemical substance code string

The unique code used to refer to the British National Formulary (BNF) chemical substance.

sectionBNFDescription BNF section name string

The name given to a British National Formulary (BNF) section. This is the next broadest grouping of the BNF therapeutical classification system after chapter.

sectionBNFCode BNF section code string

The unique code used to refer to the British National Formulary (BNF) section.

chapterBNFDescription BNF chapter name string

The name given to a British National Formulary (BNF) chapter. This is the broadest grouping of the BNF therapeutical classification system.

chapterBNFCode BNF chapter code integer

The unique code used to refer to the British National Formulary (BNF) chapter.

prepClass Preparation class integer

Generic prescribing is encouraged and many drugs are now prescribed generically even when they are not available in generic form (principally because the branded product is still in patent). Within this data prescriptions items are classified in four ways: Class 1 - Drugs prescribed and available generically Class 2 - Drugs prescribed generically but only available as a proprietary product Class 3 - Drugs prescribed and dispensed by proprietary brand name Class 4 - Dressings and appliances

dispensedItems Dispensed items string

The number prescription items dispensed. 'Items' is the number of times a product appears on a prescription form. Prescription forms include both paper prescriptions and electronic messages.

class2Items Of which class 2 items string

Of which class 2 items' is the number of 'Dispensed items' that have been apportioned to the listed presentation that were prescribed generically.

quantity Total quantity number

The total quantity of a drug or appliance that was prescribed. This is calculated by multiplying Quantity by Items. For example, if 2 items of Paracetamol 500mg tablets with a quantity of 28 were prescribed, the total quantity will be 56.

netIngredientCost Total cost number

Total cost is the amount that would be paid using the basic price of the prescribed drug or appliance and the quantity prescribed. Sometimes called the 'Net Ingredient Cost' (NIC). The basic price is given either in the Drug Tariff or is determined from prices published by manufacturers, wholesalers or suppliers. Basic price is set out in Parts 8 and 9 of the Drug Tariff. For any drugs or appliances not in Part 8, the price is usually taken from the manufacturer, wholesaler or supplier of the product. This is given in GBP.

nicPerItem Cost per item number

Cost per item is calculated by dividing the 'Total cost' by the number of 'Dispensed items'.

nicPerQuantity Cost per quantity number

Cost per quantity is calculated by dividing the 'Total cost' by the 'Total quantity'.

quantityPerItem Quantity per item number

Quantity per item is calculated by dividing the 'Total quantity' by the number of 'Dispensed items'.