Free prescriptions: How to save £340 on NHS medication if you don’t qualify for benefit

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Martin Lewis offers advice on NHS prescriptions

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Over 60s and those with certain health conditions qualify for free prescriptions, however most people need to pay prescription charges. One of the most popular ways to save money on NHS medication is by purchasing a prepayment certificate, otherwise known as a PPC. Getting a prepayment certificate allows Britons to claim as many NHS prescriptions they need for a set price which is ideal for those on repeat prescriptions.

Experts are letting people know they save upwards of £340 if they are in receipt of multiple prescriptions.

Currently, a PPC costs an individual £30.25 for a three month period or £108.10 for 12 months.

The majority of those in need of NHS medication choose to purchase a PPC online as they are digital certificates.

Furthermore, registered pharmacies are able to see PPCs online if an email address is provided.

READ MORE: State pensioners may be able to increase sum by up to £14.75 weekly

Someone’s PPC for prescriptions will start from the date of their initial purchase. However, it is possible to ask for a different start date.

People can pay for their PPCs over phone or email by Direct Debit or card payment. Alternatively, they can pay in full at a pharmacy.

It should be noted that it is not possible to pay for a 12-month PPC by the Direct Debit payment method.

Alice Haine, a personal finance analyst at Bestinvest, outlined just how much people can save using a PPC.

Ms Haines explained: “If you take regular medications and therefore have a lot of NHS prescriptions to pay for – with each prescription costing £9.35 per item – it can be cheaper to buy a prescription prepayment certificate.

“Effectively a season ticket for prescriptions, it covers all NHS prescriptions including dental, no matter how many items you need.

“While a three-month PPC costs £30.25 and will save you money if you need more than three prescribed items during that period, the 12-month option costs £108.10 and saves you money if you need more than 11 prescribed items a year.

“To break down the savings further: two items a month will save a 12-month PPC holder £116.30 a month, with three items per month leading to a saving of £228.50 and four items per month £340.70 – that’s the equivalent of £28.39.”

On the NHS website, advice is provided to those who are looking to apply for a prepayment certificate to save money on their prescriptions.

The health service stated: “Make sure you have your bank details or credit or debit card details ready.

“You can receive your certificate details by email if you provide an email address, print them at the end of your online application, or receive the details by post.

“Although a PPC is valid from the day of your application (unless otherwise requested), it may take a couple of days to receive the details of your certificate by post. 

“If you pay prescription charges while you’re waiting for the details to arrive, you can get a refund, as long as you get an NHS refund form (FP57) when you pay.

“Some pharmacies may be able to sell you a PPC. You will not be able to pay by direct debit if you buy a PPC at a pharmacy.”

Those interested in applying for a prepayment certificate if they do not qualify for free prescriptions can apply via the NHS website.

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