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Low cost and free prescriptions

  1. How much do prescriptions cost?
  2. Low cost and free prescriptions
  3. Exemption certificates

Note: The Autumn Statement (22/11/23) will bring in some changes to free prescriptions but it is not yet known when this will take place. Additionally, if you are in receipt of only Universal Credit and your payments have been reduced due to a sanction for six months or more, your claim will be closed, benefits will cease, and you will lose access to free prescriptions and legal aid. 

How can I reduce the cost of prescriptions? 

You can buy a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) which covers all your NHS prescription fees for a set period regardless of how many prescriptions you need. 

NHS charges for items prescribed in England increased as of 1st May 2024. The following figures are up to date.

  • 3-month certificate costs: £32.05 
    So, if you have four or more prescriptions within three months, this will save you money. 
  • 12-month certificate costs: £114.50 (payable in advance as a lump sum, or by direct debit for 10 months at £11.16 a month). 
    If you have 12 or more prescriptions within a year (i.e. one a month) this will save you money. (You cannot set up the direct debit instalments in a pharmacy as these are set up online).   

In the table below, you can see how much you could save with a PCC. 

Number of prescribed medications you need every month.  

Cost for each prescription (without PPC) 

Saving with a 3-month PPC 

Saving with a 12-month PPC 


£59.40 (3 months) 

£237.60 (12 months) 

Save: £28.15 

Save: £120.10


£89.10 (3 months) 

£356.40 (12 months) 

Save: £57.05 

Save: £241.90 


£118.80 (3 months) 

£475.20 (12 months) 

Save: £86.75 

Save: £360.70 

The more prescriptions you have every month, the more you could be saving with a PPC.  

From 1st April 2023, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) introduced a new PPC to reduce the cost for those on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). It covers all your eligible HRT prescriptions for that period regardless of how many different medicines you may need.  

  • 12-month HRT certificate costs: £19.80 
    If you have 3 or more prescriptions within 12 months, you will make a saving.

How does a PPC work?

Once you have set up your PPC, you will be sent your certificate details by email or you can print them online.  

All you have to do is show your certificate when you collect your prescription from a pharmacy. You can collect prescriptions as soon as the start date indicated on your certificate. If visiting the same pharmacy, they should record your details on their system so you won’t be required to show your certificate again. You will not need to pay at the counter until your certificate expires.

How to purchase a PPC?

Some pharmacies are registered to sell PPCs in person at their store.  

For more support with a PPC, call: 0300 330 1341

You can purchase an HRT PPC online from the NHS:  

For more support with an HRT PPC call: 0300 330 2089 

Can I get free prescriptions? 

Some prescribed items are always free, including contraceptives and medication given to hospital inpatients.  

To be eligible for free prescriptions, certain factors are taken into account such as: 

  • Age,
  • Benefits or allowances you or your partner are in receipt of,
  • Medical conditions,
  • Level of income.

Your doctor can give you more information on what prescriptions are free or whether you are eligible for free prescriptions, or you can visit the NHS Website to find out more. 

To check if you are eligible for help with your prescription visit:

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  1. How much do prescriptions cost?
  2. Low cost and free prescriptions
  3. Exemption certificates

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