With the cost of living on the rise in the UK, many people are looking for ways to cut back on their expenses. And whilst this means reducing spending on non-essentials like eating out and holidays, medication and other prescription costs are essential.
And although a recent move by the government means that the cost of prescriptions will not increase this year, many people have still found the cost of their medication to be an issue, leading many to look at ways to lower the cost of their medication.
But how much does a prescription actually cost in the UK? Is it possible to save money on prescription medication? How can you tell if you’re exempt from prescription charges?
We’ve got you covered with our handy guide to everything you need to know about prescription costs in the UK!
How Much Does A Prescription Cost in the UK?
For standard items at the time of writing, the cost of an NHS prescription in England is currently £9.35 per item.
This means that even if you go to your local pharmacy and collect multiple items at the same time you will still have to pay a separate prescription charge for each item on the prescription.
However, if you live in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland, you’re automatically entitled to free prescriptions.
If you live in England and meet certain criteria, you may also be entitled to free prescriptions! More on that below…
Who Is Entitled To Free Prescriptions?
Thankfully the NHS covers the cost of prescriptions for some patients in England.
This includes patients who:
- Are under 16
- Are aged 16–18 in full-time education
- Are over 60
- Are pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months
- Have a war pension exemption certificate
- Have a specified medical condition and have a valid medical exemption certificate
- Have a continuing physical disability that prevents them from going out without help from another person and has a valid medical exemption certificate
You’re also entitled to free prescriptions if you or your partner receive:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
- Universal Credit (and meet certain criteria)
There are also some prescriptions that are free, regardless of the patient’s circumstances.
These include any medications you receive as a hospital inpatient and most forms of contraception. The only time that contraceptive prescriptions are not free is if you’ve been prescribed them for other medical conditions, for example, acne.
How Much Do Private Prescriptions Cost?
In the UK, everyone has access to free healthcare via the NHS, however with ever-increasing waiting times for appointments, some people choose to pay for a private consultation in order to see a doctor faster and get treatment sooner.
Not only does the initial private consultation cost money, but there is also an additional cost for dispensing a private prescription. The exact amount varies depending on the medication and dose, so it’s worth checking with your pharmacy to see what the costs are before getting the items dispensed.
What Is An NHS Prescription Prepayment Certificate
As we mentioned earlier, unless you meet certain criteria, you’ll need to pay for your medications. Thankfully though, you can get this cost reduced by getting a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC).
This allows you to pay a one-off fee that covers the cost of all your prescriptions for up to a year, instead of paying for each prescription individually.
At the time of writing, PPC costs:
- £30.25 for 3 months
- £108.10 for 12 months
As you can imagine, this saves quite a lot of money and it’s well worth considering if you are on repeat medication or tend to need more than one prescription per month.
You can buy a PPC on the NHS website, all you’ll need is your NHS number and your personal details to set it up. And once it’s set up, you don’t have to do anything else – it will automatically cover the cost of all your future prescriptions without you having to do a thing!
Ordering Prescriptions Online
Another way to make sure that you never run out of medication is by using Healthera (the online prescription app) to handle all of your prescription and over-the-counter needs!
Most people don’t think about their medications very often. But if you live with a chronic illness or take multiple medications, staying on top of your medication needs is essential… and Healthera can help!
Healthera offers an innovative and convenient way to order your repeat prescriptions. Before Healthera, patients had to contact their doctors when their medications ran out, and doctors would then contact pharmacies to prepare prescriptions.
When placing a repeat prescription order, each party must communicate with the other two, and problems at any step can cause delays. This process is seen as inefficient and clunky, both by patients and pharmacists, and can often lead to patients running out of medication.
Here at Healthera, we streamline the ordering process for both patients and pharmacies and deliver a seamless service that saves you time, effort and money!
Ordering your prescriptions through Healthera is simple…
- Download our free app, and place your repeat prescription order
- (If you’d like to) add any other over-the-counter items to your basket. You can choose from hundreds of items including Viagra and cough & cold medicines
- We’ll send your order to your GP who will then issue an electronic prescription request to your selected pharmacy
- Your pharmacy will dispense and deliver your items directly to you, or you can choose to collect them
Not only that, but we’ll also remind you when it’s time to order your repeat prescription, meaning running out of medication is a thing of the past!
Healthera is the future of pharmacy, and we’re on a mission to make managing healthcare easier for everyone.