Prescription charge system needs reform

Prescription charges, at £8.20 per item, are at an all-time high and will continue to increase unless there is reform. In his budget speech, the Chancellor George Osborne did not address the issue of rising prescription charges in England.

The current system of payment and exemptions should be scrapped. Instead, every person aged 12–75 years should pay, say, £1.20 per item. Exemptions from payment should only be given to those aged under 12 and over 75 years (in line with the television licence). This would give the chancellor well over £1bn to add to his coffers (over a billion prescription items were dispensed in England last year). This could be increased every two or three years in line with inflation. In cases of hardship, help could be given through the benefits system or special payments made. Perhaps the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee could put this idea to the health minister when they next meet.

David Blake



Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 18 July 2015, Vol 295, No 7871;295(7871):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20068968

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