NPN | Prescription Charges

For the first time since 2010, patients in England who require an NHS prescription will pay the frozen price of £9.35 for each medicine or appliance dispensed, excluding wigs and fabric supports. Due to consideration of the cost-of-living crisis, a rise was anticipated - after all, in the last ten years, prescription charges have increased by 20%, and 1st April tends to herald price hikes.

The minister of state for health, Edward Argar, said: “Prescription charges will not be uplifted on 1 April 2022. There is currently no planned announcement on any future increase. Decisions on increases take account of a range of evidence including the Gross Domestic Product deflator.”

If you buy more than 12 prescriptions in a year, the NHS offers a ‘season ticket’. For those who engage with the 12-month Prescription Prepayment Certificate, which covers the cost of all pharmacy-dispensed medication for £108.10, there will be no change in price. A three-month season ticket currently costs £30.25 - both season tickets can represent a big saving for those who need to buy prescriptions frequently.

Prescription charges go towards essential running costs for frontline services within the NHS - between 2015/16 and 2019/20, over £2.8bn has been generated from prescriptions.

If you are concerned about the increasing cost of living as we move into the 2022/23 financial year, you may be able to cut the cost of your medicine bills depending on your circumstances. The NHS has an online ‘Do I get free prescriptions?’ tool which allows you to check your eligibility. People who are aged under 16, those aged 16-18, and those aged 60 or over are entitled to free prescriptions. Those who are pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months are also entitled to free prescriptions. Finally, those on a low income can receive free prescriptions via certain DWP benefits and Tax Credits, in addition to the NHS Low Income Scheme.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care confirmed: “Around 90% of community prescription items in England are free of charge, and people don’t pay if they are on a low income, over 60 years old, or have certain medical conditions. The upper age exemption has not changed since 1995 and that is why we have consulted on restoring the link with the state pension age. We are considering the responses carefully and will respond in due course.”


For prescriptions dispensed in April 2022, charges will remain at £9.35 per item, and the cost of Prescription Pre-payment Certificates will also remain unchanged for April 2022. From May 2022, this is subject to change once a decision has been reached on prescription charges.