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.
NHS prescription costs
- The current prescription charge is £9.00 per item (£16.40 per pair of elastic hosiery).
- A three monthly PPC is £29.10 and could save you money if you need more than three prescribed items in three months.
- A 12-month certificate is £104.00 and could save you money if you need more than 12 prescribed items in a year.
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.
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).