In England, the NHS prescription charge will increase to £9.35 per prescription item from 1st April 2021. This will apply to all prescriptions that are not charge exempt.
Prescription pre-payment certificate prices will also rise proportionately. The price of a three-month prescription pre-payment certificate will become £30.25 (an increase of 60 pence) and a 12-month pre-payment certificate will be £108.10 (an increase of £2.20). Pre-payment certificates offer savings for those needing four or more prescription items in three months, or 12 or more items in a year.
The table below is scrollable for mobile devices.
|Single charge (per prescription item)||£9.15||£9.35|
|3-month Prescription Pre-Payment Certificate||£29.65||£30.25|
|12-month Prescription Pre-Payment Certificate||£105.90||£108.10|
Contrary to what some people may believe, pharmacies do not keep the NHS Prescription Charge that is paid to them. We charge the soon-to-be £9.35 charge on behalf of the NHS, which is then taken from us every month. This money is then re-invested into the NHS, raising crucial funds that can be spent on ensuring the continued provision of NHS services, or on new schemes or operations.
The charge is fixed at a pre-determined price every year; it is not dependent on the cost of your medicines. For example, many prescription items actually cost more than the £9.35 fee you have to pay to contribute to the NHS — but you are still charged the same, fixed rate regardless.
If you receive multiple medicines at once, you will be charged the prescription charge on each medicine you receive. There are exceptions to this — for example if you receive two strengths of the same drug, then you only have to pay one prescription charge for both of the items.
In other circumstances, you may have to pay multiple charges for one prescription item — for example Hormone Replacement Therapy. This is because there will be multiple active drugs in the prescription item, and you are charged for each of these. It is often the case that these products are also more expensive to source, so this will help cover the cost of this.
Having a valid exemption means you don't have to pay for any prescriptions you receive. There are many different exemptions, but common ones include:
You can find some useful links to check whether you have an exemption, and see if you are eligible for any exemptions below.
You can save money on prescription payments with a prescription pre-payment certificate (PPC). Pre-payment certificates offer savings for those needing four or more prescription items in three months, or 12 or more items in a year.
You can purchase a prescription pre-payment certificate at any registered pharmacy, or online through the NHS Business Services Authority. Remember to check you're not eligible for any other exemptions before purchasing a PPC.