This accounted for 14.2% of the health service’s operating budget of £9.3bn in 2008/09 and equates to £247 for every person in Scotland.

Lib Dem health spokesman Ross Finnie described the figures as “truly staggering” and called on the SNP to rethink its policy of abolishing prescription charges.

Mr Finnie said: “These figures show the folly of the SNP’s determination to press ahead with scrapping prescription charges for those who can well afford to pay.

“We know that the number of prescriptions dispensed is on the rise. Free prescriptions could see that number spike higher still.

“SNP ministers need to get their priorities right.

“Would they rather continue spending billions of pounds on scrapping prescription charges, or would they rather boost spending on improving patient care, tackling hospital infections, or increasing access to NHS dentists?”

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde spent £343m on drugs last year, the highest in Scotland, while NHS Lothian was next on £195m.

NHS Shetland spent just over £1m.

The NHS spent £5.4bn on hospital services last year.

This included £108m on cleaning, an increase of £8.1m, after a high-profile drive to cut down on the spread of infections like C diff.

Catering costs jumped by £6.5m to £84m, while the cost of heat and light was up by almost a quarter to £87.7m.

The wage bill for NHS staff was £4.6bn.