Layer 1

Prescription charge jumps 20p to £8.40

Pharmacy minister Alistair Burt announced the change last week alongside a freeze in pre-paid prescription certificates

The prescription charge in England will jump 20p to £8.40 on April 1.

The charge increased 15p last year, and has risen steadily since the turn of the decade (see graph below).

Pharmacy minister Alistair Burt announced the latest rise on Friday (March 11).

The government will freeze the cost of pre-paid prescription certificates, which cover all prescription charges for either three months or a year, Mr Burt said.

A three-month certificate costs £29.10, while a 12-month version is £104.

England is the only country in the UK that charges for prescriptions.

Charge hits patients with long-term conditions

The Prescription Charges Coalition, which includes the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), said the continued rise of prescription charges will hit patients with long-term conditions.

"We are pressing for people with long-term conditions in England to be exempt from prescription charges. They are disproportionately affected [by the charge] due to their need for ongoing medication," it said.

Patients with certain conditions, such as hypothyroidism and diabetes, are exempt from charge, but the coalition called on the government to change this "outdated, illogical and unfair" list .

Although it welcomed the freeze in pre-paid prescription prices, the cost of these certificates is still too high for some, it said.

How has the prescription charge in England changed in the last 10 years?


Should England abolish the prescription charge?

We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information


Farhat Ahmed, Locum pharmacist

As a country we have money to blow people up around the world but no money for the NHS? Reality is Thatcher tried to destroy the NHS, now new boy Cameron is following through. 


Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

Mrs Thatcher increased spending in real terms to the NHS each of her 11 and a half years in office.  Don't believe the rubbish trotted out by the Mirror/Guardian/BBC et al. ! David Cameron has ring fenced the NHS, there have been no cuts to NHS funding. 

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

What planet are you on???????  it was liebour  ( that party which has blood on its hands ) who introduced to the NHS.... where they built hospitals at a cost of £50 billion and the repayment is £300 billion........

Mr CAUSTIC, Community pharmacist

the answer is simple a small charge of say£ 3 per item for those working who pay 820 at the moment and a 10p charge for everyone else except children  under 18. the logic of this is to stop people ticking everything on their list when they do not need it. 10p everyone can afford and it will save the government millions on wasted drugs. nobody will pay the 10p for drugs they do not need however wealthy they are.we all know the wasted drugs returned when someone passes away or goes into a home.

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

In Scotland the abolition of the prescription charge did not cause an increase in prescribing. The administrative cost of any out-of-pocket system would probably consume any increase in income. GPs acting as stringent gate keepers and pharmacies acting prudently in the ordering of repeats have a far greater influence in reducing the medicines bill. As a percentage of GDP the NHS is massively underfunded in comparison to other comparable Western European systems such as in France and Germany. The British public should be slapped with a huge increase in national insurance contributions if they want a better system and if they don't want to pay, well they can suffer the clinical consequences.



As per usual the British public want French/Swedish/German level public services/infrastructure but with American level taxation. As per usual there is an infinite supply of 'Tory Boy' bullsh*tters offering to square this circle with the now laughable claim of 'spending more efficiently'. 

Call Me Cycnical, Senior Management

Whats the point in this? It will generate about £100 a year, The government should know that the only people that need medications are either retired, unemployed or off on long term sick. NOBODY PAYS FOR THEIR MEDS! Count how many people pay in your store and feed back on here Total number of scripts / paid scripts in a day, lets have a laugh, 20p this bloke really hasn't got a clue.


Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

no party will advocate over 60s paying for their meds..political suicide.....its the over 60s that vote in the elections...hence the TRIPLE LOCK by the Con party..........

P M, Community pharmacist

charge everyone £1 per item good idea but why stop charging at 60 ?

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

what age do you advocate?

P M, Community pharmacist

er none .... let them pay for it ... 

Call Me Cycnical, Senior Management

Totally agree

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

Why  not charge everyone £1 per item except those over 60....this will make ppl think before they order their items and a revenue stream for the government...

Akaash Bansal, Community pharmacist

There was once a proposed idea of a universal charge of £2.50 per item floating around in the air throughout the pharmacy industry, that idea has obviously floated too far away like a balloon lost to the sky!

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I actually wrote an article about that on here. If everyone expect age exempt paid and charged equally, it'd cost £2.30 per item for the NHS to earn the same income. Include the fact that you'd have less admin to do in regards to managing all these exemptions. If it was everyone that figure drops to 81p. My numbers are a little out of date now, but consider that as a rough estimate, it seems very reasonable.

Job of the week

Pharmacist Manager
Midlands, Cheshire & Dorset
Salary dependent upon experience