Prescription charges

Pills in hand

We're disappointed that free prescription charges for those in England with long-term health needs will not be going ahead.

We're working to make sure existing heart patients understand what they are currently entitled to, and that more people are aware of the pre-payment certificate.

We are continuing to campaign through the Prescription Charges Coalition to move towards free prescriptions for those with long-term health needs.

The Coalition published a report examining the impact of prescription charges on people with long term health conditions in England. The findings highlighted that charging for medication is making it more difficult for people to manage their conditions effectively, leading to more severe health problems and extra costs to the NHS and society as a whole.

Prescription charges are affecting me right now. What can I do?

If you're struggling to pay your prescription charges then you may be able to get help through the NHS Low Income Scheme. This could give you full or partial help to pay your prescription fees if you have a low income. Each claim is assessed on a case by case basis, so it's worth checking to see if you're entitled to help through this scheme.

If you don't qualify for the Low Income Scheme, you may find that a Prescription Pre-payment Certificate (PPC) could help you. This helps people who need large quantities of medicine on a regular basis, but still have to pay prescription charges, by helping to spread the cost of the charges.

You can apply for a PPC by:

  • calling 0845 850 0030 (interpretation services available)
  • using the NHS' online application form
  • posting form FP95 available from your local pharmacy
  • going to a pharmacy registered to sell PPCs

Through the PPC you can pay £29.10 for all your prescriptions for three months, or £104 for all your prescriptions for a year. You can spread this cost by paying in instalments. An NHS prescription currently costs £8.20, so if you pay for four of more prescriptions in three months, or 15 prescriptions or more over a year, then the PPC would save you money.  

Why you shouldn't pay for prescriptions if you live in England

We believe that you shouldn't have to pay if you are a heart patient, someone living with heart disease or at risk of heart disease. Whether you are taking drugs to protect yourself from future heart disease (like statins) or as a treatment for existing heart disease, your drugs should be free because:

  • An independent review recommended that patients with long term conditions like heart disease receive free prescriptions following approval from their Doctor. 
  • In 2008 the Labour government promised to make prescriptions free for all those with long-term conditions in the coming years.
  • Heart patients in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland no longer pay for them.
  • It will mean that you don't have to worry about money for prescriptions when your focus should be on your health.