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Prescriptions: Who pays what?

In England, there can be a cost when you need prescribed medication. Prescriptions in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are free.

Some items are also free, such as contraception or medicine prescribed when you are staying in hospital.

Standard Costs

As of 1st May 2024, the standard cost of an NHS prescription is £9.90.

This is per prescription, not per item. So if you are prescribed a dose that requires you to take, for example, a 100mg tablet and a 50mg tablet, that counts as one prescription and one charge.

Can I get free Prescriptions?

You may not need to pay for your medication, depending on your circumstances. You won’t have to pay if you:

  • Are aged 60 or older
  • Are under 16
  • Are between 16 and 18 and in full-time education
  • Are pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months
  • Have a valid medical exemption certificate because of a certain condition

There is also the NHS Low Income Scheme, which people can apply for. This covers prescriptions, dental, eye care and other healthcare costs.

How to save on Prescriptions

If you know you will need lots of different prescriptions, it may be cheaper for you to buy a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC).

For a one-off cost, a PPC covers any prescriptions you might need, including dental ones.

A three-month PPC costs £32.05. You will save money if you need more than three items during those three months.

For £114.50, you can get a PPC that will cover all of your prescriptions for 12 months. If you need 11 or more prescriptions issued over the course of a year, a PPC will save you money. You can also spread the cost of a prepayment certificate over 10 months.

The quickest and easiest way to buy or renew a Prescription Prepayment Certificate is online via the NHS website.

If you need extra help, you can call 0300 330 1341.