Page updated: 22 April 2021

Prescription Charges

In England, as of 1 April 2021, prescription charges are now £9.35 per item, whilst they are free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Prescription charges for people with Scleroderma and Raynaud's in England

Medical exemption certificates are available for a number of listed medical conditions below. The list of medical exemptions was set in 1968 and has remained largely unchanged since. Scleroderma or Raynaud's is not currently included in the list of medical exemptions, though some people with these conditions may still be entitled to free prescriptions due to their circumstances or an overlapping condition.

You can still get free NHS prescriptions in England 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
  • Have a specified medical condition and have a valid medical exemption certificate
  • Have a continuing physical disability that prevents you from going out without help from another person and have a valid medical exemption certificate
  • Hold a valid war pension exemption certificate and the prescription is for your accepted disability
  • Are an NHS inpatient

Medical exemption certificates are issued on application to people who have:

  • A permanent fistula (for example caecostomy, colostomy, laryngostomy or ileostomy) requiring continuous surgical dressing or requiring an appliance
  • A form of hypoadrenalism (for example Addison's disease) for which specific substitution therapy is essential
  • Diabetes insipidus or other forms of hypopituitarism
  • Diabetes mellitus, except where treatment is by diet alone
  • Hypoparathyroidism (blood deficiency which can cause muscle spasms)
  • Myasthenia gravis (abnormal weakness of certain muscles)
  • Myxoedema (that is, hypothyroidism requiring thyroid hormone replacement)
  • Epilepsy requiring continuous anticonvulsive therapy
  • A continuing physical disability which means the person cannot go out without the help of another person. Temporary disabilities do not count even if they last for several months
  • Or are undergoing treatment for cancer: including the effects of cancer, or the effects of current or previous cancer treatment

Help with prescription charges

If you don't meet the medical exemption for prescription charges there are some additional cost saving measures available.

Prescription Prepayment Certificates (PPCs)

PPCs are a method of saving money for people living in England if they need more than 12 prescribed medicines each year or more than three prescribed medicines in three months. The charge for a single prescribed medicine is currently £9.35, whereas a three-month PPC will currently cost you £30.25 and a 12-month PPC £106.00.

What will a PPC cover me for?

Your PPC will cover you for all of the NHS prescriptions you need during the period of your PPC, no matter how many you have.

How much can I save?

Number of prescribed medicines you need each month     Saving with a 12 month PPC   Saving with a three month PPC

2                                                                                              More than £115 per year           More than £25 in 3 months

3                                                                                              More than £225 per year          More than £25 in 3 months

4                                                                                              More than £340 per year          More than £75 in 3 months

How do I apply for a PPC?

You can apply for a PPC online.

Learn more about the other ways you can apply.

Will my PPC start straight away?

Your PPC will start from the date they receive your application unless you ask for a different start date. This can be up to one month earlier or later than the date they receive it.

If you have to pay a prescription charge while you are waiting for your PPC, you may get a refund as long as you have an FP57 receipt and refund claim form and your PPC is valid on the date you pay. The pharmacist or dispensing doctor can only issue an FP57 at the time you pay the prescription charge - they cannot issue you one later. You can claim the prescription charge(s) back up to three months after paying. The FP57 tells you what to do - but remember the PPC itself can only be backdated by one month.

NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS) 

If you are on a low income, you may be eligible to receive financial help through the NHS Low Income Scheme. The scheme covers: 

  • Prescription costs 
  • Dental costs 
  • Eye care costs
  • Healthcare travel costs
  • Wigs and fabric supports

You can apply for the scheme as long as your savings, investments or property (not counting the place where you live) don't exceed the capital limit. In England, the limit is

  • £23,250 for people who live permanently in a care home
  • £16,000 for everyone else

Any help you're entitled to is also available to your partner and any dependent young people. 

For more information about requirements visit NHS: help with health costs.

How do I apply for the LIS?

To apply for an HC2 certificate, you should complete form HC1, which you can order online.