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Prescription charges to rise despite campaign

The cost of prescriptions and prescription prepayment certificates is to rise today (1st April).

  • Single charge: increasing to £9.15
  • 3-month Prescription Prepayment Certificate (PPC): increasing to £29.65
  • 12-month Prescription Prepayment Certificate (PPC): increasing to £105.90

Further information about the increase is available here:

As part of the Prescription Charges Coalition, CLDF joins forces with 48 charities/organisations to call on the Government to urgently reform the prescription exemption criteria in England and make prescriptions free for people living with long term conditions. Prescription charges affect many of our young people who are required to take several medications including anti-rejection medication.

We believe this is out of date and unfair because:

  • England is now the only part of the UK that charges for prescriptions – charges were abolished in Wales in 2007, Northern Ireland in 2010 and Scotland in 2011.
  • Medical exemption certificates are only available for a very limited range of conditions, based on a list that was produced in 1968 and is largely unchanged.
  • Prescription charges will be rising to stand at £9.15 per item (as of 1 April 2020), having risen almost every year since 1979 and at a pace that outstrips wage inflation.
  • The full range of exemptions relating to income and age is confusing and not transparent making it difficult for people to assess whether the it is applicable to their circumstances.
  • A prescription prepayment certificate can reduce the cost of prescription charges if you need multiple medications. However, this is still a significant amount, on top of other costs that come with having a long-term condition.

What we have done so far

Campaigning and lobbying of the Government have continued over the past year with very little success.

Recently, one of our young people, Joanna, led a Radio 4 documentary discussing her struggle with the cost of prescription charges as well as interviewing professionals and individuals with other long-term conditions. If you missed the documentary you can listen back here.

Furthermore, a ministerial letter was submitted by the coalition to the Department of Health and Social Care requesting emergency suspension of prescription charges for all people with long-term conditions in England, to aid the efforts of Public Health England in delaying the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Coalition research shows that the charges discourage people from collecting the vital medication they need to stay well. At a time when it is critical for everyone to be taking the medication they need to stay well, this simple measure may aid medication adherence by patients with long-term conditions. This action could reduce the numbers of emergency admissions at this critical time and aid in quelling this pressure. Unfortunately, the Coalition has not received a positive response to this request. We will provide an update if this changes.

What our young people think

“I understand that some people need to pay for prescriptions, however, I do not feel it is fair the way some long term health conditions are covered whereas others are not as it should be more inclusive. I feel it’s frustrating not having clear cut rules on who is included in free prescriptions as people presume all those with long term conditions are covered when this is not the reality.” – Mackenzie

“How would you feel if you were forced to pay to stay alive? As a liver transplant patient, I and many other patients of chronic liver conditions have no choice but to do this every month, paying for our life-saving medication. I feel it is deeply unfair that we are forced to pay for essential medication when other long-term conditions often do not have to. Not only are we paying for medicine which we could die without, but it is also a lifelong circumstance that we will endure for the rest of our lives. As a result, I and many others will be hit time after time by price inflation, making it increasingly difficult for us to receive the most basic of human rights – the right to life.” – Emma P

“I have to pay for my meds monthly for my lifelong condition which is not fair as I didn’t choose to have this condition and this extra monthly cost. Not everyone who has an illness can afford all the pills that they need to help them survive, and it’s something that needs to change.” – Constance

“I would say as a young person who’s still trying to find his feet and figure out budgeting, the additional cost of paying for medication is scary. It’s not something that I can sacrifice and I know if I didn’t have the support of family, I wouldn’t be able to pay for meds or I’d hesitate to buy those meds I desperately need. I worry for those who don’t have the help I get” – Joshua 

“I think that the idea that liver transplant patients have to pay prescription charges is both extremely wrong and unfair, as without this medication these individuals like myself would be unable to survive due to the medication keeping them alive. Not only this, but post liver transplant there is many different types of medication which you have to take for the rest of your life, this making it even more expensive when faced with a charge on a prescription that is the only thing keeping you alive.” – Emma R

“It really upsets and frustrates me knowing that we have this to come very soon. I don’t understand why our children are disadvantaged as they have no choice but to pay as if they don’t take their medication or can’t afford it then they could die! How is this any different to any other long-term condition that get free medication? I really do think it is disgusting that anyone with any type of condition that requires medication for life or could be life threatening without should have to pay” – Mum of a young person

We would love to know what you think. If you are willing to share your own story or opinions as part of this campaign, please get in touch with Harpreet (Information and Research Hub Manager) at or call 0121 212 6029.

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