The increased spend on diabetes medication should be hailed as a victory for common sense that will save the NHS and taxpayer £millions in hospital treatment, says AAH sales director David Rollinson.
The published stats suggest that since 2005-6, the number of items prescribed to treat diabetes has risen by 57 per cent at an additional cost of more than £250m.
The sales director at AAH Pharmaceuticals says that while this may first appear to be an increase that could or should have received greater control, he believes that in essence it highlights two key points that should be lauded.
“First, it suggests that as a nation our healthcare professionals have heightened awareness around the condition, in particular type 2 diabetes, and therefore many more people are receiving life-changing treatment to control their illness.
“Pharmacy has played a huge part in this and as the gateway to health continues to do so.
“Secondly, and this has far greater cost implications, a rise in spend in treating diabetes far outweighs the additional strain and spend in treating complications that can occur from it.”
Rollinson says that pharmacy has been a catalyst in screening, referring, diagnosing, treating and managing patients with type 2 diabetes since 2005-6 and as a result he welcomes the untold £millions that have been saved in secondary care and associated prescribed medication.
In 2012, the London School of Economics estimated that the cost of treating the complications of diabetes, such as heart, blood, nerve, kidney and eye-related problems were up to four times the cost of diabetes medication.
“My rough calculations tell me that a rise in spend of £250m actually equates to a saving of £1bn to the NHS otherwise spent on treating those that have slipped through the screening net. And the cost of inpatient care is estimated at up to £2,500 per patient compared to only up to £370 per outpatient,” he added.
“And, this doesn’t even take into account the social and economic affect this can have on the UK in terms of early retirements, absenteeism and social benefits.”
He points to the increase in screening and diagnostic services, particularly in public health, that will of course result in an increase in prescriptions as pharmacists’ early interventions continue to refer people to their GP.
But rather than concentrating on the cost implications that this has on the NHS, he champions pharmacy and other primary healthcare for the health and economic benefits gained from them keeping smokers, the obese and potential diabetes sufferers out of hospitals.