In the UK, rules regarding free prescriptions differ depending on which country someone lives in. For example, those who live in Scotland and Wales are able to claim free medication no matter what age they are. In comparison, people living in England can also get free prescriptions if they are 60 years of age or older.
As a result, many end up losing hundreds of pounds a year to medication costs which are readily available for free through the NHS in other parts of the country.
One of the main ways people save money on prescriptions is by purchasing a prepayment certificate or a PPC that is otherwise known.
Those who need regular medication can afford it by making one large payment which can cover their prescriptions for a period of time.
Savers can choose to purchase a prepayment certificate for three months or 12 months, depending on their circumstances.
Once someone is in receipt of this concession, all of their prescriptions are covered under it.
An individual who claims two rounds of medication a month could receive a discount which would save them £100 a year.
This discount is accessible via the NHS prescriptions website and people have the option to pay by card or direct debit.
Someone who becomes eligible for free prescriptions after buying a certificate, can reclaim the proportional cost for that time.
Stuart Gale, the chief pharmacist at Oxford Online Pharmacy, noted just how much individuals can save on their medication by purchasing the certificate.
Mr Gale explained: “While prescriptions are free in the rest of the UK, for those in England they cost £9.35 for every item.
“If you’re prescribed more than three items, or require at least one prescription a month for a long period a prepayment certification is a big saver as these have a capped fee.
“A PPC for three months is £35.25, or £108.12 for 12 months. For example, without a PPC this would cost £336.60 if you require x3 prescriptions per month.
“This not only saves £££s, but helps you to budget a fixed cost – especially if you need further additional prescriptions during the year.”
However, the savings expert reminded certain groups to check their eligibility for free prescriptions also.
He added: “Consumers in England should first check if they can qualify for any free prescriptions – this can include Medical Exemption Certificates ‘MEDEX’ for conditions such as diabetes, hypothyroid and cancer.
“Prescribed contraceptives are also free or if you’re pregnant, or gave birth in the last year a Maternity Exemption Certificate ‘MATEX’ will provide free medicines.
“You’re also entitled to free prescriptions if you’re under 16 or over 60, in full-time education aged 16-18, you’re an NHS inpatient, on income support, jobseeker’s allowance or universal credit – so check with your pharmacist if you could qualify.”
Medical exemption certificates are available for thousands of people in the UK who are qualifying health conditions.
Among the health conditions that qualify someone for a medical exemption certificate include:
A permanent fistula which needs continuous surgical dressing or an appliance
A form of hypoadrenalism which requires specific substitution therapy
Diabetes insipidus or other forms of hypopituitarism
Diabetes mellitus, except where treatment is by diet alone
Epilepsy requiring continuous anticonvulsive therapy.