With an NHS prescription costs £9 per item (in England, free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and the stores full of branded medication promising to cure any ailment, it is no wonder that we are looking for ways to save money on medication. Whether you are prescribed medication regularly or you are just looking for ways to save money at the pharmacy, here are some great ways to save money on medication.
Check if you are eligible for free NHS prescriptions
You can get free NHS prescriptions for a number of reasons, including being aged 60 or over, under 16, between 16-18 in full-time education, if you are pregnant or had a baby in the previous 12 months, having a certain medical condition or are an NHS inpatient. If you or your partner are in receipt of certain benefits including income support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit and Universal credit then you might also be entitled to free prescriptions.
In some cases, such as pregnancy or having a certain medical condition you will need to get a medical exemption certification. To do so, ask your GP for an FP92A form to complete to be issued with your card. Also see what to expect if you waters break early.
Get a Prescription Payment Certificate
A Prescription Payment Certificate (PPC) can help you to save money if you need more than one prescription or medication per month. A three-month PPC costs £29.10 and an annual PPC costs £104 – you can pay this over 10 months if it is easier for you. You can order a PPC online or by ringing 0300 330 1341.
On a low income?
The NHS Low Income Scheme is in place to help those who are on a low income. You will need to apply for a HC2 certificate, which you do by completing a HC1 form. This form is available from the Jobcentre Plus, hospitals and most GP surgerys. You can also ring 0300 123 0849 (freephone) to get a form.
Your income will then be taken into account to see if you qualify, and if so you could get free prescriptions, or get part of your prescriptions paid.
Ask for a bigger prescription
If you need a medication for some time then it might be possible to ask your doctor to prescribe a few month’s worth of medication instead of the usual amount you are prescribed. They might not be able to, but it is worth asking.
Stay away from brand names
If you need to buy medication then don’t be tempted by great packaging and promises of fast acting medication. Buying unbranded or own-brand medication can save you a small fortune. Simply compare the medication’s ‘active’ ingredients to make sure that you are getting the same medication and then buy the cheaper unbranded or own-brand. MoneySavingExpert suggest that you can save up to 68% of the cost of the same ingredients by not choosing the expensive branded medication.
Look for medication cheaper than the prescription cost
There are some prescribed items that are cheaper to purchase over the counter than paying the £8.80 prescription charge. Two great examples of this are Aqueous cream and hydrocortisone 1% which can both be purchased for around £3.50 instead of the £8.80 prescription charge. Other items to look out for pricing up individually include painkillers and ear drops. Remember to take into consideration how long a prescription would last you – if you are getting a few month’s worth of medication on the prescription then it might work out cheaper.
There are savings to be made from shopping around for your medication. From supermarkets to discount and bargain stores like Poundland, B&M and Home Bargains, there are often bargains to be found on medication. You can also look online, but make sure you are choosing a reputable online pharmacy and that you account for any delivery fees.
Consider buying painkillers yourself
If you are eligible for free prescriptions and need painkillers, you might want to consider the cost to the NHS and opt to buy your painkillers elsewhere. For example, a 16 pack of paracetamol will set you back just 35p from Tesco, but will cost the NHS a lot more.