Prescription charges frozen – how to reduce costs further

1 min Read Published: 31 Mar 2022

Prescription charges frozen

NHS prescription charges have been frozen for the first time in 12 years. The cost per item will stay at £9.35 for the financial year 2022/23 for people in England, with the rest of the UK continuing to have free prescriptions.

The list of people eligible for free prescriptions has also remained unchanged, although there are discussions at the Department of Health and Social Care about raising the upper-age limit for exemption to 66.

Can I get free prescriptions?

The NHS has an online tool  that allows you to check if you are eligible for free prescriptions. This includes, but is not limited to, people who meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • You live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
  • You're under 16
  • You're over 60
  • You're pregnant or have given birth in the last 12 months, with a maternity exemption certificate
  • You have a medical exemption certificate
  • You receive certain benefits, including income support, jobseeker's allowance, pension credit guarantee credit and universal credit, with certain restrictions

How can I reduce my prescription costs?

If you regularly pay for your prescriptions, it can work out cheaper to buy a Prescription Prepayment Certificate. The cost, which has also been frozen, is £30.25 for a 3-month pass and £108.10 for a 12-month pass.

You can purchase a Prescription Prepayment Certificate at selected pharmacies, online or over the phone on 0300 330 1341.

What is going to happen to prescription charges next?

The current price of £9.35 per item will stay in place for the 2022/23 financial year and will be reassessed this time next year. 

Another potential change to prescriptions is the increase of the upper-age exemption limit. There has been a government consultation on increasing the age limit from it current level of 60 to 66, which is in line with the state pension age. This comes as approximately 63% of prescriptions are dispensed free of charge to those over 60. However, although the consultation concluded in September 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care has yet to announce its decision.