January 27, 2023

According to MoneySavingExpert, ONE million people lose £40 a year saving on NHS prescriptions.

The Martin Lewis website found that 1,064,992 people in England lost money in the 12 months to April 2022 because they bought their prescriptions individually.



You can save money by purchasing a “season pass” with an NHS prescription.1 credit

You can buy Prescription Prepaid Certificates (PPCs) that entitle you to unlimited NHS prescriptions for 12 months for £108.10.

But data obtained by MoneySavingExpert from the NHS Office of Business Services in a freedom of information request showed that patients are missing out because they don’t buy PPC, but instead pay every time they pick it up.

The figures showed that of those who bought 12 or more recipes, an average of 16 items were bought, worth £149.60.

But given that PPC costs £108.10, that comes out to be more than £40 more over 12 months.


Last fiscal year marked the fourth consecutive year in which the number of patient dropouts exceeded one million.

Martin Lewis said: “England is the only one of the four British countries that charges for prescription drugs and it is therefore frustrating to hear that many people are still paying more than they need to, especially at a time when every penny counts.

“We need to tell everyone who gets prescriptions regularly, including those with chronic conditions, to check prepaid prescription certificates.


“My simple rule of thumb is if you get more than one prescription per month, on average these ‘subscriptions’ are the cheapest option as they limit what you have to pay.”

He added: “Someone getting, say, two prescriptions a month would save over £100 a year.

“If you think this is you, check it out now in case we see another price increase in early spring.”


How does a prepaid prescription certificate work?

PPC and prescription prices typically rise in April but have been frozen at £108.10 and £9.35 for FY 2021/22 and 2022/23 respectively.

If you buy 12 prescriptions a year, you save £4.10 every 12 months by getting PPC.

And any additional prescription purchases over that amount will obviously result in more savings.

For example, if you buy 20 prescriptions a year individually, it will cost you £187.

If you had bought PPC you would have saved almost £80.

How else can you save money on a prescription?

Some people in England are eligible for free prescriptions, so you don’t even have to worry about buying PPC.

This includes if:

  • You are 60 or older
  • You are under the age of 16 or you are 17 or 18 and a full-time student
  • You are pregnant or had a baby within the previous 12 months and have a valid maternity tax exemption certificate.
  • You have a specific medical condition and a valid medical exemption card
  • You have a permanent physical disability that prevents you from going outside without assistance and you have a valid medical certificate (MedEx)
  • You have a valid military pension exemption certificate and a prescription for your recognized disability.
  • You are an NHS inpatient

Specific medical conditions that qualify you for a medical exemption card include cancer and epilepsy.

To learn more about the conditions covered by the card, you can visit the NHS website.

There you will also find more information on how to get a pregnancy exemption card.

You are also eligible for free prescriptions if you or your partner qualify for certain benefits, or if you are under 20 and dependent on someone claiming certain benefits, including:

  • Income Support
  • Income Based Unemployment Benefit
  • Income-Based Employment and Support Benefit
  • Pension loan guarantee
  • Universal Credit and meet the criteria

You can also get free prescription drugs if you qualify. Certificate of NHS tax exemption.

You must be eligible for certain benefits to receive one, including child tax credit or employee tax credit (including an element of disability or severe disability).

You must also have an income of less than £15,276 per annum.

You can check if you qualify for a free prescription by using the government eligibility check on their website.

The same screening program can also tell you if you qualify for other free health-related support, such as free glasses and vision tests, or dental care.

Help if you have a low income

You can also get help with prescriptions if you have a low income under the NHS Low Income Scheme.

However, what you are eligible for will depend on your income and circumstances.

If you have previously had to pay for prescription drugs or other medical expenses and you qualify for the Low Income Program, you may be able to apply for reimbursement.

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If you think you are eligible, you can visit the NHS website.

Do you have a money problem that needs to be solved? Contact us at [email protected]

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