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Prescriptions Charges and Exemptions

Extensive exemption and remission arrangements protect those likely to have difficulty in paying charges (NHS prescription and dental charges, optical and hospital travel costs).

The NHS prescription charge is a flat-rate amount which successive Governments have thought it reasonable to charge for those who can afford to pay for their medicines.  Prescription prepayment certificates (PPCs) offer real savings for people who need extensive medication.

To apply for a Medical Exemption Certificate ask your GP for an FP92A form.  Your GP will sign the form to confirm that your statement is correct.  Your certificate will be valid for one month before the date that the NHS Business Authority receives the application form.  The MedEx lasts for five years and then needs to be renewed. 

NHS charges

These charges apply in England only. In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales prescriptions are free of charge.

  • From the 1st of April 2020 prescription charges will increase to £9.15 per item.
  • 12-month prepayment certificate (PPC): £105.90
  • 3-month PPC: £29.65

If you will have to pay for four or more prescription items in three months, or more than 15 items in 12 months, you may find it cheaper to buy a PPC. 

There is further information about prescription exemptions and fees on the NHS website


Medical Conditions

Patients with certain medical conditions can get free NHS prescriptions if they have one of the conditions listed below and they hold a valid medical exemption certificate:

A permanent fistula (e.g. caecostomy, colostomy, laryngostomy or ileostomy) requiring continous surgical dressing or requiring an applicance.
A form of hypoadrenalism (e.g. Addison's disease) for which specific substitution therapy is essential
Diabetes insipidus or other forms of hypopituitarism
Diabetes mellitus, except where treatment is by diet alone
Myasthenia gravis
Myxoedema (hypothyroidism requiring thyroid hormone replacement)
Epilepsy requiring continous anticonvulsive therapy
A continuing physical disability which means the person cannot go out without the help of another person, temporary disabiltities do not count even if they last for several months
Patients undergoing treatment for cancer including the effects of cancer or the effects of current or previous cancer treatment 

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