Money Wellness
Image of a pharmacy sign. Prescription prices rise from today. Find out who is entitled to free prescriptions
category iconcost of living
calendar icon01 May 2024

Prescription prices rise from today

The price of prescriptions increases by 25p from today from £9.65 to £9.90.

A three-month NHS prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) will set you back £32.05 – up 80p. And a 12-month PPC is rising by £2.90 from £111.60 to £114.50.

Older women relying on HRT will see their prescription rise to £19.80.

While prescriptions for other essential items such as surgical bras, abdominal and spinal support for post-surgery recovery, and wigs – including acrylic, partial and full human hair – will all go up.

The 25% rise in prescription prices could lead to thousands choosing to go without vital medicine.

The Community Pharmacy England said it is opposed to the price increase, stating ‘it is a tax on the vulnerable.’

Janet Morrison, chief executive of the organisation said: “As the cost of living continues to put a strain on the most vulnerable in society, many patients will have to make unbearable decisions about which medicines they can afford to pay for.”

Can I get free prescriptions?

Prescriptions are free for all those living in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Children under 16, teens in full-time education until 18, and those over 60 are automatically entitled to free prescriptions.

As are the following:

  • Anyone claiming Income support
  • Anyone claiming income-based jobseekers allowance
  • Anyone claiming income-related employment and support allowance
  • Anyone claiming pension credit guarantee credit
  • Anyone claiming tax credits as long as your annual family income is under £15,276 and you receive either child tax credit, working tax credit and child tax credit paid together or working tax credit including a disability element
  • Anyone on a low income with a HC2 certificate
  • Any pregnant women or postnatal with babies under 12 months with a maternity certificate
  • Anyone with medical conditions for which they have a medical certificate
  • Anyone with a valid war pension certificate using their prescription for an accepted disability

What help is available to cover prescription costs if you’re not entitled to it for free?

If you receive one of the following benefits, you’re not automatically entitled to free NHS prescriptions. But you can apply for help to cover the cost from the NHS low-income scheme.

  • contribution-jobseekers allowance
  • contribution-based employment allowance
  • Pension credit savings credit

Are you entitled to free prescriptions if you claim universal credit?

Not everyone claiming universal credit is entitled to free NHS prescriptions.

Whether you qualify will depend on how much you earned in your latest assessment period.

What is the NHS low-income scheme?

If you’re on a low income the NHS low income scheme could help you with:

  • Prescription charges
  • NHS dental treatment
  • Sign tests, glasses and contact lenses
  • The cost of travelling to receive treatment
  • Wigs and fabric supports

How much you get depends on your personal circumstances. Any help you’re entitled to is also available to your partner, if you have one.

If you have already paid for treatment, you can claim this back from the scheme too.

Apply by completing the HC1 form and posting it back to:

NHS Low Income Scheme

NHS Business Services Authority

Bridge House

152 Pilgrim Street

Newcastle upon Tyne


Those without capital or savings of more than £6,000 who are either:

  • A pensioner
  • A student
  • Earning a wage
  • Receiving state benefits
  • Living in a care home

Can apply online for the NHS Low Income Scheme.

Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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