Prescriptions Charges and 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).

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. Prescription prepayment certificates (PPCs) offer real savings for people who need extensive medication.

NHS charges

These charges apply in England only. In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales prescriptions are free of charge.

NHS prescription costs

  • current prescription charge – £9.65 per item (£17.60 per pair of elastic hosiery)
  • The hormone replacement therapy (HRT) PPC - £19.30 and will save you money if you need more than 2 prescribed HRT items in a year*
  • three-month PPC – £31.25; this will save you money if you need more than 3 prescribed items in 3 months
  • 12-month PPC – £111.60; this will save you money if you need more than 11 prescribed items in a year

PPCs are available by 10 monthly direct debit instalment payments. The certificates allow anyone to obtain all the prescriptions they need for £2 a week. 

Find out more about the prescription prepayment certificate.

** The HRT PPC is only for HRT medicines licensed to treat menopause symptoms. Find out more about the HRT PPC from NHS Hormone Replacement Therapy Prescription Prepayment Certificate (HRT PPC) | NHSBSA

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