You won't believe how many take prescription pain meds
Half of women and 43% of men in England are now regularly taking prescription drugs, according to the comprehensive Health Survey for England.
Cholesterol-lowering statins, pain relief and anti-depressants were among the most prescribed medicines.
The report, by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), showed an average of 18.7 prescriptions per person in England in 2013.
The cost to the NHS was in excess of £15bn-a-year.
More than a fifth of men and nearly a quarter of women are taking at least three prescriptions.
All the figures exclude contraceptives and smoking cessation products.
Nearly a third of prescriptions were for cardiovascular disease with more than 65 million prescriptions for tackling high blood pressure, heart failure or cholesterol levels.
Simvastatin - which lowers cholesterol - was the single most prescribed item with 40 million prescriptions.
Dr Jennifer Mindell, one of the report's authors at University College London, said: "This is the first nationally-representative study to report on the use of prescribed medicines taken by people in the community, not just those within the healthcare system.
"That half of men over 65 are taking cholesterol-lowering medicines reflects the high risk of cardiovascular disease in this group.
"Stopping smoking, being a healthy weight, eating more vegetables and fruit, and being physically active reduce people's risk of these diseases, for people who want to avoid taking medicines."
Source: BBC News