Help with NHS prescription costs
If you’re worried about money and how you will pay for the medicine that you and your family need, remember that there is support available for you.

Lots of people are finding it tough at the moment, as many daily living costs increase. Paying for healthcare products and prescriptions, on top of other costs such as fuel, household bills, and food may be worrying for some people.

It is important to have medicine that has been prescribed to you by your GP. You should take it correctly for it to work well. Not taking the medicine that you need may be dangerous and may mean that you don’t get better.

If you choose not to take your medicine, always talk to your GP. They will be able to tell you about other options that may be suitable, or refer you to other services that can help.

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Free prescriptions

You may be eligible for free prescriptions. This means that you will not have to pay for any medicine that is prescribed to you by your GP.

The NHS website has information about who can get free prescriptions. You should get free prescriptions if you:

  • Are over the age of 60 years
  • Are under the age of 16 years
  • Are aged 16 to 18 years and in full-time education
  • Are pregnant, or have had a baby in the last 12 months
  • Have a specified medical condition and have a valid medical exemption certificate
  • Have a continuing physical disability that prevents you going out without help from another person and have a valid medical exemption certificate
  • Have a valid war pension exemption certificate and the prescription is for medication related to your accepted disability
  • Are an NHS inpatient – you’ll get medicine for free if you’re in hospital, but after you’ve been discharged you’ll have to pay for your prescriptions, unless you have free prescriptions for another reason.

You can also get free NHS prescriptions if you or your partner receive any of the following benefits, or if you're under the age of 20 and the dependent of someone receiving:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • Universal Credit and meet the criteria.

The NHS website has a useful eligibility checker, to check whether you can get free prescriptions. If you’re not sure, ask your GP or a pharmacist for help.

Prescription prepayment certificates

A prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) is for people who may need to pay for regular NHS prescriptions. It’s like having a ‘season ticket’ for your prescriptions, and it can save you money.

A PPC covers the costs of all your NHS prescriptions, no matter how many you need.

There are 2 PPC options to choose from:

  • The 3-month PPC costs £32.05 and will save you money if you need more than 3 prescribed items in 3 months.
  • The 12-month PPC costs £114.50 and will save you money if you need more than 11 prescribed items in a year.

If you choose to buy a 12-month PPC, the NHS offers a Direct Debit option to spread the cost over 10 monthly payments.

It is quick and easy to buy a PPC online. But remember, if you’re eligible for free prescriptions, then a PPC is not right for you. Check if you can get free prescriptions first, before buying a PPC.

The NHS website has more information about PPCs, including information about how much you could save if you use a PPC.

Where can I get more support and information?

Citizen's Advice
Information and support for people who are worried about money, including up-to-date information about the cost of living crisis.

Step Change
Information and support for people who have debt.

The UK Government website
Information about what financial support is available, including universal credit and advance and hardship payments.

Information and support with financial issues, including information about benefits.

Approved by: Mital Thakrar

GPhC number: 2086675

Mital qualified as a Pharmacist and joined Well in 2013. With an extensive background in Pharmacy his current role as the Clinical Product, Digital Marketing & Innovation Manager focuses on innovation and commercial development of the online products at Well Digital.

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