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Methadone

Volume 498: debated on Monday 2 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average cost of a methadone prescription was in each of the last five years; and what the total cost of methadone prescriptions was in the last five years. (296973)

The information requested is shown in the following tables. The British National Formulary lists methadone in three separate sections: as a cough suppressant; as an opioid analgesic; and for the treatment of drug dependence. Data have been provided on the basis of this classification according to the preparation dispensed, not the purpose of the prescription.

Average net ingredient cost per prescription item

£

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Cough suppressant

3.24

4.05

4.17

3.70

3.74

Opioid analgesics

22.95

22.57

21.62

21.21

20.59

Drugs used in substance dependence

8.12

8.67

9.22

11.37

12.35

Average

8.84

9.27

9.68

11.70

12.59

Total net ingredient cost

£000

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Cough suppressant

3.5

3.9

4.3

4.6

4.0

Opioid analgesics

2,015.6

1,993.5

1,831.7

1,781.1

1,693.2

Drugs used in substance dependence

13,972.6

16,949.2

20,201.5

27,362.1

32,778.7

Total

15,991.6

18,946.7

22,037.5

29,147.8

34,476.0

Source:

Prescription Cost Analysis System

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average duration of a methadone prescription for a problem drug user was in the last five years. (296974)

These data are not collected centrally.

National clinical guidelines do not specify how long a person should be in treatment and the duration of drug treatment varies markedly according to individual need. Research shows that staying in treatment for at least 12 weeks has a lasting positive benefit in reducing the harm associated with dependence.

We also know that it is usual for drug users to go in and out of treatment several times, often over several years, before becoming drug-free.