Primary care services in England are now spending close to £1 billion on diabetes drugs, as the net ingredient cost (NIC) for these medicines leapt £88 million to £956.7 million in 2015/16.

The NIC for diabetes drugs - which does not take into account discounts, dispensing costs, fees, or the income from prescription charges - now accounts for 10.6 percent of the total cost of all prescribing in primary care in England, and is almost double that of decade ago, when it was £513.9 million, or 6.6 percent of the overall spend.

Data released by NHS Digital also show that in the last financial year 49.7 million prescription items were handed out in England for the treatment and management of the condition.

They also reveal an 83.3 percent increase in terms of diabetes items dispensed and an 86.1 percent increase in terms of their cost between 2005/06 and 2015/16.

Of the three main diabetes therapy areas in primary care, prescribed anti-diabetics cost the NHS £422.7 million, prescribed insulin £343.7 million, and prescribed diagnostic and monitoring devices £186.6 million, according to its NHS Digital's report Prescribing for Diabetes 2005/06 to 2015/16.

While diabetes still tops the table overall, last month it was revealed that the greatest jump in the number of items prescribed and dispensed from 2014 to 2015 was seen for antidepressants.