Call for review of prescription charges

With growing numbers of hard-pressed people in England failing to collect prescribed medicine because of the £9.35 per item cost, or asking pharmacists which items they can do without to save money, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in mid February called on the government to review the exemptions to ensure that all patients with long term conditions to get their drugs free of charge.

However prescription charges have long been abolished altogether in Wales, followed by Scotland and Northern Ireland, leaving only English patients paying the hefty charge for the 10% of prescriptions that are not exempt.

The charges raised just £652 million in 2021-22, just 0.4% of the £150 billion DHSC budget: but their real cost in deterring more and more seriously ill patients on low incomes from accessing the treatment they need has not been calculated.

Full story in The Lowdown, 26 February 2023