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Prescription Charges

NHS prescription 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. 

  • The current prescription charge from 1st April 2017 is £8.60 per item (£17.20 per pair of elastic hosiery).

If you require regular repeat prescriptions, we would advise you to consider a Prepayment Certificate (PPC); this is often more cost effective, and the price of the PPC has not increased from 2016/17 to 2017/18.

  • 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.

If you need to access the services below then medicines are free:


Prescription 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).

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 partner – receive, or you're under the age of 20 and the dependant of someone receiving:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, or  
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit 
  • Universal Credit and meet the criteria 

If you're entitled to or named on:

  • a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate – if you don't have a certificate, you can show your award notice; you qualify if you get Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits with a disability element (or both) and have income for tax credit purposes of £15,276 or less
  • a valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2)

People named on an NHS certificate for partial help with health costs (HC3) may also get help.



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