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Vioxx

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the cost to the NHS of prescribing the drug Vioxx has been in each year since the drug became available on the NHS; (256530)

(2) how many (a) males and (b) females in each (i) age group and (ii) health authority have been prescribed Vioxx in each year since 1999; and how many in each category have suffered (A) heart attacks and (B) fatal heart attacks while prescribed Vioxx in each such year.

Information is not collected on either the gender or number of people prescribed a medicine, only on the number of prescription items dispensed. Information on the estimated number and net ingredient cost for Vioxx items dispensed in the community in England, by age group, from 1999, when the drug was licensed in the UK, is provided in the following table.

Estimated number of prescription items (000s)1 Net ingredient cost

Estimated number of prescription items (thousand)1Net ingredient cost

Children aged under 16 and 16-18 in full-time education

Elderly aged 60 and over

Adults aged 16 to 59 (ex 16-18 in full time education)

Total

NIC (£000)

1999

0.7

91.4

70.5

162.6

3,998.5

2000

2.5

453.4

328.6

784.5

20,156.0

2001

3.7

823.8

442.3

1,269.8

33,691.8

2002

4.7

1,170.6

605.5

1,780.8

47,202.8

2003

5.8

1,394.4

728.4

2,128.6

57,055.8

2004

5.3

1,207.0

619

1,831.3

50,547.0

2005

2

0.5

0.4

0.9

21.0

2006

2

0.1

2

0.1

2.5

2007

2

2

2

2

2

1 Estimates are based on a 1 in 20 sample of all exempt prescriptions dispensed by community pharmacists, appliance contractors and dispensing doctors.

2 Data have not been reported where 50 or fewer prescription items are estimated to have been dispensed during the period.

Source:

Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) data

Prescribing activity for individual primary care trusts (PCTs) for 2004—the most recent year reportable prescribing took place, has been placed in the Library. From 2005 to 2007 less than 50 items were dispensed in the community each year in a significant number of PCTs. Releasing actual figures may potentially allow the identification of individual patients. NHS Prescription Services retains these data for 60 months on a rolling basis, therefore this information is not available at PCT level prior to 2004.

Information on the number of people who have suffered heart attacks or fatal heart attacks while prescribed Vioxx is not available.