AN extra half a million prescriptions have been dispensed in the Glasgow area since they became free.
Across the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area, the 314 community pharmacies handed over almost 24million prescription, an average of 18 for every patient on GP lists.
The cost of prescriptions in Scotland have risen by £36m, with £1.18billion spent on issuing medicines, mostly by GPs.
Prescription charges were abolished by the Scottish Government in April last year, in a controversial move, with opponents claiming those who were wealthy couln afford to pay for drugs and shouldn't get free prescriptions.
Across Scotland almost three and a half million additional prescriptions were issued in the last year leading to concerns that health boards will struggle to balance the books.
The total number of items prescribed rose to 94.9 million, up 3.8% from 2010-11.
The Royal College of Nursing said its analysis found that nine out of 14 health boards overspent on GP prescribing during the financial year 2011-12.
Theresa Fyffe, RCN Scotland director, said: "This latest increase in prescribing costs, on top of years of growing spend on prescribing, comes at a time when the overall health budget is virtually at a standstill.
"The pressure is mounting on health boards to make increasingly difficult decisions to balance their books while still maintaining quality services that meet growing patient demand."
The Scottish Government protected the health budget while other departments faced severe cuts, but the NHS is still under pressure from rising costs of salaries, and energy bills.
A Government spokeswoman said: "We continue to collaborate with NHS boards to ensure that prescribing in primary care is effective, economic and efficient.
"It is important to note that significant resources are available for prescribing in primary care year on year, which take account of prescribing trends and other influencing factors."