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PDA responds to prescription charges consultation

The government has proposed to change the upper age exemption for prescription charges, to align it with the State Pension age.

Fri 27th August 2021 The PDA

The proposed change would mean that people in England would need to pay for their prescriptions until they’re 66 initially, with this figure rising in line with State Pension age.

The PDA has several concerns around this proposal, as discussed during an interview with Jim Hawkins on BBC Radio Shropshire (19 August).

It fails to consider the real impact it would have on the most vulnerable members of society. If the prescription price becomes a barrier to accessing prescription medicines, the poorest most vulnerable members of society will be faced with the hard choice of having to decide which medication to purchase and which one/s they could “go without”. They may also try to ration items such as inhalers, rather than take them as prescribed.

Whilst the introduction of charges for people between 60 and State pension age may lead to short-term increases in income, in the long-term there would be an increased burden both financially and in terms of workload on the NHS as a result of complications arising from poor compliance with their prescribed medications.

A survey conducted last year by the PDA in conjunction with the Prescription Charges Coalition found that 96% of pharmacists who responded had encountered patients refusing at least part of their prescription due to cost. The overwhelming majority of respondents were in favour of widening the eligibility criteria for free prescriptions, rather than narrowing it. This would help to improve health outcomes and minimise the risk of complications which would impact on patients’ quality of life and increase the burden on an already overstretched NHS.

The impact of this proposal, were it to go ahead, would be to introduce a barrier to long-term good health outcomes, having a great impact on the most vulnerable members of society.



Learn more about the interview with Jim Hawkins on BBC Radio Shropshire on 19 August here. As of 27 August, the interview will be available for 22 more days, the interview starts at 1 hour, 17 minutes and 36 seconds in.

Related link

PDA IN THE NEWS: Keeping prescriptions free for the over 60s

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