Essential facts, stats and quotes relating to coeliac disease

Published on: 9th May 2016 | Updated on: 28th March 2022

This page contains facts, stats and quotes that LPC members may find useful when writing business cases or developing resources to support the commissioning of an emergency supply of medicines (at NHS expense) service.

This page is ‘work in progress’ and will continue to be updated with new facts, stats and quotes.

Facts, stats and quotes on other topics can be accessed on the Essential facts, stats and quotes page.

Early detection of coeliac disease using community pharmacy (October 2015)

  • Around 1% of the UK population have coeliac disease, but only 24% of those are diagnosed. This means that approximately 500,000 people in the UK remain undiagnosed.
  • The symptoms of coeliac disease are similar to the symptoms of many minor gastro problems which people may prefer to discuss with their local pharmacist rather than their GPs. 
  • The use of community pharmacy to improve detection of coeliac disease clearly has potential benefits. 
  • The accessibility of community pharmacies, the confidence with which pharmacy teams feel able to administer the tests, and the willingness of people attending the pharmacy to accept the tests all point to a valuable opportunity to identify undiagnosed cases of coeliac disease. 
  • 98% of those identified as eligible to participate in the early detection of coeliac disease using community pharmacy project accepted the point-of-care test in community pharmacy. Of those, 9.4% were given a positive test result for coeliac disease and 7.2% tested positive for IgA deficiency.

British Society of Gastroenterology – commissioning report

  • Approximately 30% of patients may have persisting symptoms requiring further input from a secondary care clinician with a specialist interest in the disease.
  • Evaluation of new approaches for the supply of gluten-free food on prescription suggests pharmacy supply schemes provide a better, more cost effective service.
  • Moves to pharmacy supply for gluten-free prescriptions should result in considerable savings of 20-40%.

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