Mental Health Prescriptions Dispensed During Lockdown up by 61%

The UK’s biggest online pharmacy has revealed a 61 per cent rise in the number of NHS prescriptions it has dispensed for medication intended to treat mental health conditions since lockdown began.

This number is produced when comparing repeat prescriptions dispensed from March to July 2020 with the same period last year.

The data comes as Pharmacy2U reveals the latest trends in its dispensing data, focusing on prescriptions for mental health conditions.

It also reveals that the highest level of items dispensed came three months into lockdown, with week commencing 1st June seeing over 185,000 medicines delivered to people’s homes as lockdown measures began to ease.

There was a 92 per cent increase in mental health medication dispensed to 20-29-year-olds between March – July this year compared with 2019, followed by a 70 per cent increase to those aged 70-79.

In its role as a national provider of vital NHS services, Pharmacy2U monitors trends and works with the NHS and Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in the interests of improving NHS provision, reducing medicines waste, and supporting the appropriate prescribing and dispensing of medications across the country.

Since the beginning of March, the South West saw the highest percentage increase (90 per cent) for items intended for mental health issues compared with last year, followed by the South East (67 per cent increase) and the East of England (59 per cent increase).

Greater London saw orders up 54 per cent on the same period in 2019.

Data from Pharmacy2U revealed that it has dispensed over 4.6 million items of medication and saved over 2 Million trips outside for potentially vulnerable people since March, helping hundreds of thousands of people get vital medicines and helping to ease the strain on the NHS and frontline services.

Phil Day, Superintendent Pharmacist at Pharmacy2U comments:

“The last few months have been unlike anything we’ve ever experienced in our lifetime, and it has been particularly challenging and worrying for the most vulnerable who still need access to their repeat medicines to manage ongoing conditions.

“With the prescribing of mental health medications under the microscope at a national level, our responsibility to patients and the NHS is at the heart of all we do.

“All medication we dispense is requested by the patient and approved by the patients’ GP, who we work with closely to identify any over or under prescribing.

“This helps our patients keep the right amount of medication for their needs, and improves their adherence to their courses of treatment, whilst also preventing over-prescribing and the associated increased costs to the NHS.

“Our state-of-the-art dispensing facility uses the latest technology and industry leading clinical accuracy measures, to help hundreds of thousands of people in need get their medicines safely and, in some part, ease the strain on our partners and friends in the NHS and frontline services.”