Researchers found that the cost of antidepressants increased to £35m in April 2020

Consumer

Researchers found that the cost of antidepressants increased to thirty-five million pounds in April 2020, using prescribing data from 2019 to 2020, which is more than double the identical period in 2019.

Research published in DARU Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences has shown that in comparison to 2019, prescriptions for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor sertraline accounted for an extra one-hundred and thirteen million pounds during 2020.

“Researchers found that the cost of antidepressants increased to thirty-five million pounds in April 2020.“

The authors stated the increase was mainly credited to a significant increase in the cost of generic medicines during the COVID-19 pandemic and shortages of active pharmaceutical ingredient.

The researchers inspected antidepressant prescribing trends between January 2020 and August 2020. They compared them with comparable periods in the three years preceding to assess the impact of the associated lockdowns and the pandemic on antidepressant prescribing.

Prescribing data was attained from the NHS Business Services Authority Prescription Cost Analysis database.

In addition, the research team assessed the economic impact of the change in prescribing trends represented by changes in the cost incurred to NHS England.

The researchers noted a significant increase in the cost of antidepressants when analysing the data when the pandemic was at its peak within the UK. In April 2020, prices surged to thirty-five million pounds, which is more than double the cost during the same period in 2019.

The total amount of antidepressant prescriptions distributed between January 2020 and December 2020 was seventy-eight million. Despite this, the researchers discovered that these four million items cost NHS England an extra one-hundred and thirty-nine million pounds.

SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants were the most frequently prescribed among different classes of antidepressants. Compared with 2019, prescriptions for sertraline accounted for an additional one-hundred and thirteen million pounds during 2020.

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