Martin Lewis reveals how to save up to £100 on prescriptions

More than a million people in England paid more than they should for their medicines (Photo: Getty Images)

Martin Lewis has warned that more than a million people in England are overpaying for drugs prescribed by the NHS.

MoneySavingExpert said people were missing out on savings of around £40 due to the lack of a “season pass” that could cap their spending.

The NHS Prescription Prepaid Certificate (PPC) is available for purchase for people who pay for more than one prescription per month.

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Martin Lewis is urging people who get more than one prescription each month, including those with chronic conditions, to see how much they can save on medication.

How much could people save on prescriptions?

MoneySaving Expert received data from the NHS Business Services Authority through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

As of April 2021, 1,063,648 people paid for at least 12 prescriptions in fiscal year 2020/21, with an average of 16 prescriptions purchased.

At that time, the annual PPC, which covers the cost of all medicines dispensed in a pharmacy for one year, cost £106 and one prescription cost £9.15.

As a result, patients in England who paid each time overspending by an average of £40 during the year, for a total of £43 million.

The consumer site says these subscriptions are worth checking out now, as prescription and paid ticket prices tend to rise each April, although costs for the 2022/23 financial year have yet to be announced.

In April 2021, the cost of prescriptions rose to £9.35 and annual PPC costs rose to £108.10. Alternatively, a three-month subscription costs £30.25, which can save money if they buy four or more prescriptions during that time.

The number of people who could save money by buying an annual PPC has grown steadily over each of the past six years, and 2021 was the third year in a row that more than a million patients could save by using one, according to MoneySavingExpert.

Mr Lewis said: “England is the only one of the four British countries that charges for prescription drugs and it is therefore frustrating to hear that many people are still paying more than they need to.

“We need to tell everyone who gets prescriptions regularly, including those with chronic conditions, to check prepaid certificates.

“These subscriptions limit what you have to pay, as with a one-time payment you get unlimited prescriptions for three months or a year.

“My simple rule of thumb is if you average more than one prescription per month, this is the cheapest way. And someone getting, say, two prescriptions a month would save over £100 a year.”

How can I get a checkpoint?

Patients can buy PPC by card or direct debit on the NHS Business Services Authority website or by calling 0300 330 1341.

PPC can also be purchased in person at many pharmacies or through National Health Service Online.

MoneySavingExpert said patients should always check to see if they qualify for an exemption first so they don’t have to pay in full.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Welfare said: “Roughly 89% of prescription drugs in England are free of charge and we estimate that around 60% of people do not pay for them.

“Prescription Prepaid Certificates are available to help people in England who need prescriptions frequently and who are not exempt from fees.

“We encourage all those who may be eligible to consider using PPC to save money on their prescriptions.”

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