NHS Prescription Charges

The current prescription charge as of April 2015 is £8.20 (£16.40 per pair of elastic hosiery).

Prescription prepayment certificates (PPC)

Prescription prepayment certificates are available in England and they can save you money. A three monthly PPC is £29.10. This saves you money if you need four or more items in three months.  A 12-month certificate is £104.00 and saves money if 13 or more items are needed in 12 months. PPCs are available by 10 monthly direct debit instalment payments. The prescription prepayment certificates allow anyone to obtain all the prescriptions they need for £2 per week.

Find out more about the prescription prepayment certificate.

If you need to access the services below then medicines are free:

Who is entitled to free prescriptions?

You can get free NHS prescriptions if, at the time the prescription is dispensed, you:

  • are 60 or over
  • are under 16
  • are 16-18 and in full-time education
  • are pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months and have a valid maternity exemption certificate (MatEx)
  • have a specified medical condition and have a valid medical exemption certificate (MedEx)
  • have a continuing physical disability that prevents you from going out without help from another person and have a valid MedEx
  • hold a valid war pension exemption certificate and the prescription is for your accepted disability
  • are an NHS inpatient

You are also entitled to free prescriptions if you or your partner (including civil partners) are named on, or are entitled to, an NHS tax credit exemption certificate or a valid HC2 certificate (full help with health costs), or you receive either:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, or
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • Universal Credit

Find out more about the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS).

Medical Exemptions

People 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.

Medical exemption certificates are issued on application to people who have:

  • a permanent fistula (for example caecostomy, colostomy, laryngostomy or ileostomy) requiring continuous surgical dressing or requiring an appliance
  • a form of hypoadrenalism (for example 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
  • hypoparathyroidism
  • myasthenia gravis
  • myxoedema (that is, hypothyroidism requiring thyroid hormone replacement)
  • epilepsy requiring continuous anticonvulsive therapy
  • a continuing physical disability which means the person cannot go out without the help of another person. Temporary disabilities do not count even if they last for several months

Or are undergoing treatment for cancer:

  • including the effects of cancer, or
  • the effects of current or previous cancer treatment

Also read the medical exemption certificate FAQ.

How to apply for a medical exemption certificate

To apply for a medical exemption certificate ask your doctor for an FP92A form. Your GP, hospital or service doctor will sign the form to confirm that your statement is correct. At your GP’s discretion, a member of the practice who has access to your medical records can also sign the form.

Your certificate will be valid from 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. You may receive a reminder that your certificate needs to be renewed. If you don’t receive a reminder, it is your responsibility to ensure that it is renewed.

You can find more information about the application process and refunds on the NHS Business Authority’s website.