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 prescription charges
These charges apply in England only.
- Prescription (per item): £8.60 (£17.20 per pair of elastic hosiery)
- 12-month prepayment certificate (PPC): £104.00
- 3-month PPC: £29.10
If you will have to pay for four or more prescription items in three months, or more than 15 items in 12 months, you may find it cheaper to buy a PPC.
Who Is Entitled to Free Prescriptions?
You can get free NHS prescriptions if, at the time the prescription is dispensed, you:
- are 60 or over
- are under 16
- are 16-18 and in full-time education
- are pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months and have a valid maternity exemption certificate (MatEx)
- have a specified medical condition and have a valid medical exemption certificate (MedEx)
- have a continuing physical disability that prevents you going out without help from another person and have a valid MedEx
- hold a valid war pension exemption certificate and the prescription is for your accepted disability
- are an NHS inpatient
You're also entitled to free prescriptions if you or your partner – including civil partner – receive, or you're under the age of 20 and the dependant of someone receiving:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
- Universal Credit and meet the criteria
If you're entitled to or named on:
- a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate – if you don't have a certificate, you can show your award notice; you qualify if you get Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits with a disability element (or both), and have income for tax credit purposes of £15,276 or less
- a valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2)
People named on an NHS certificate for partial help with health costs (HC3) may also get help.
There is further information about prescription exemptions and fees on the NHS website