Pharmacist highlights ‘lesser-known’ scheme which could save you money on medication

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Martin Lewis offers advice on NHS prescriptions

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The former saving is thanks to a cost-cutting option known as a prepayment certificate (PPC) which is available through the NHS. While free prescriptions are available to certain vulnerable groups, the majority of people have to pay for their vital medications. These costs can be reduced by purchasing a PPC which can be particularly useful during the continuing cost of living crisis.

Those on multiple prescriptions save around £340 a year on their medication costs by getting a PPC.

It is possible to buy a prepayment certificate by visiting one’s local pharmacy or by applying online.

The NHS certificate covers all prescriptions, which usually cost £9.35 per item for a set price over a period of time.

As it stands, a PPC costs an individual £30.25 for three months and £108.10 over a 12-month period.

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Before anyone chooses to purchase a prepayment certificate, the NHS encourages them to check if they are eligible for free prescriptions in the first place.

If someone has two prescriptions a month, they would save over £116 a year with a 12-month PPC and £25 if they purchase a certificate for three months.

Individuals who take out an annual PPC for three prescriptions can save more than £228 for a year’s certificate, and around £53 for a three-month certificate.

Anyone who has four prescribed medications to their name can save over £340 a year with a 12-month certificate and around £81 with a three-month equivalent.

Stuart Gale, the chief pharmacist of Oxford Online Pharmacy, emphasised the importance of people being aware of how they can save money on their medications if they are not eligible for free prescriptions.

Furthermore, the pharmacist encouraged people to check if your pharmacy is part of the NHS minor ailments scheme to save money on over-the-counter (OTC) medicines.

On this issue, Mr Gale explained: “The lesser-known NHS minor ailments scheme is also useful for OTC medicines on the NHS for minor health complaints such as colds, flu, eye complaints, eczema, stomach upsets – even head lice or the morning-after pill.

“There sometimes can be one prescription charge to pay but this usually costs less than a month’s supply of treatment – but if you or a child is already entitled to a free prescription this would apply if your pharmacy is part of the scheme.”

Mr Gale said: “With everyone’s costs rising at the moment, prescription and medicine charges are one great cost-cutting area that shouldn’t be overlooked to help save money on your health needs.”

The medication expert shared how much someone can save by purchasing a PPC if they need to take out multiple prescriptions.

He explained: “While prescriptions are free in the rest of the UK, for those in England they cost £9.35 for every item.

“If you’re prescribed more than three items, or require at least one prescription a month for a long period a prepayment certification is a big saver as these have a capped fee.

“A PPC for three months is £35.25, or £108.12 for 12 months.

“For example, without a PPC this would cost £336.60 if you require three prescriptions per month.

“This not only saves money, but helps you to budget a fixed cost – especially if you need further additional prescriptions during the year.”

It is possible to pay for a prepayment certificate in ten monthly instalments by Direct Debit, however this is only available to those with a 12-month PPC.

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