The report covers all prescriptions dispensed by the NHS in England by community pharmacists, appliance contractors and dispensing doctors. On average, people aged 60 and over received 42.4 items per head in 2007, compared to 22.3 items in 1997.
The report, Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community, Statistics for 1997 - 2007; England, also shows nearly 60 per cent more prescription items were dispensed to the population in total in 2007 compared to 1997.
Other key findings were:
- On average, 15.6 prescription items were dispensed per head of population in 2007, compared to 10.3 items in 1997.
- A total of 796 million prescription items were dispensed in 2007 - 59.2 per cent more than in 1997.
- The therapeutic area with the largest number of items dispensed, which also had the greatest cost, is the cardiovascular system, which covers the treatment of conditions related to the heart and circulatory system.
Tim Straughan, NHS Information Centre Chief Executive, said: "Over the last ten years, there has been a large increase in the number of prescription items supplied to patients by the NHS. This is particularly the case for prescriptions supplied to elderly patients where the average number of items per person has almost doubled"