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NHS Prescription Charges from April 2021
The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has raised the NHS Prescription charge from £9.15 to £9.35 per prescription item. This charge will be applicable on all non-exempt prescriptions from the 1st April 2021.
Mar 2021
NHS Prescription Charges from April 2021
Prescription Price Increase

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.

Prescription charge type Current charge (up to 31st March 2021) New charge (1st April 2021 onwards)
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
Charges Explained

Where does the prescription charge go?

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.

Why do I have to pay more than one charge?

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.

Exemptions Explained

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:

  • Under 16 Years of Age
  • Aged 16, 17 or 18 and in full-time education
  • Over 60 Years of Age
  • Maternity Exemption Certificate
  • Medical Exemption Certificate
  • Prescription Prepayment Certificate (PPC) (See below)

You can find some useful links to check whether you have an exemption, and see if you are eligible for any exemptions below.

Who can get free prescriptions? →

Check if I have an exemption →

Prescription Pre-payment certificates

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.

How much you can save:

Purchasing a Prescription Pre-Payment Certificate

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.

More information on Prescription Pre-Payment Certificates 

Purchase a Prescription Pre-Payment Certificate Online 

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