At the Bennett Institute for Applied Data Science we’re always pleased to see stories in the media which have used In the last few months there have been a number of articles on both television and written media using information from OpenPrescribing. Here are some of the highlights.

Sky News

“North-South divide in opioid and painkiller prescribing with high use in England’s most deprived areas” (7th October 2022)

Last October Sky News broadcast a story on the variation in prescribing of medicines with potential for addiction across the country, and in particular the differences between the North of England and the South. This report also focused on the impact that prescribing of drugs such as opioids and gabapentinoids had on patients, and their struggles with addiction.

Sky News used OpenPrescribing measures on these drugs, including our total oral morphine equivalence (OME) measure, and total prescribing (in milligrams) of pregabalin in order to identify and describe variation across the country, including interactive maps and charts.

Sky News Opioids map Credit: Sky News

It’s not the the first time that OpenPrescribing has been used in a national news story about the variation of prescribing of drugs with abuse potential: in 2017 BBC News highlighted the variation in prescribing of pregabalin, showing that, at the time, pregabalin prescribing was 88% higher in the North East compared to London).

BBC News headline: “Pregabalin: spending on ’new valium’ greater in North” Credit: BBC News

Channel 4 News

“NHS drug shortage spikes by 200% in a year” (12th October 2022)

Also in October 2022 Channel 4 News ran a major story on the impact of and possible reasons for the large increase in the number of drug shortages in the UK. The story heavily featured our Price Concession impact estimation tool to show the impact that price concessions are having on the NHS medicines budget (for the financial year 2022-23 was over £300m), and on pharmacies trying to obtain medicines at a reasonable price. The report highlighted 3 medicines in particular, and the additional costs (from the tool) of several million pounds each in a single month.

Channel 4 News image of Price Concessions data Credit: Channel 4 News was also used by a number of other news outlets to highlight the costs to the NHS due to price concessions, including The Times (paywall) and The Pharmaceutical Journal.

Once again this was not the first time that the price concessions tool was used in national media - BBC News used it to highlight problems with drug shortages and the associated cost in 2019.

Local media highlighting prescribing variation

We have also seen local media using OpenPrescribing to highlight either variation in prescribing or changes in cost or volume in their local area. Recent examples of this include:

What to do if you’re a journalist?

Sometimes we’re contacted by journalists keen to discuss a possible story, and on other occasions we’re unaware until an article is published. If you’re thinking about a possible story which involves OpenPrescribing data, then we’d be delighted if you get in touch with us to discuss further. You can email us or tag us on Twitter.

If you’re writing an article using our data, we’d always be grateful for OpenPrescribing to be cited, and linked back where possible, so that your readers can find the site to use themselves. Details on citations can be found on our FAQs.