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Prescriptions: Fees and Charges

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN HL15182, tabled on 21 April 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government in what circumstances patients are charged for the first two months of the prescription of new drugs; whether decisions on charging for new drugs are determined by (1) the NHS, or (2) the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence; whether the circumstances in which patients are charged for new drugs has changed in the last five years; and if so, (a) when, and (b) for what reasons.

Answered on

26 April 2021

Decisions on whether medicines are funded by the National Health Service are taken by clinical commissioning groups and there is a requirement to fund drugs recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Where a drug is funded by the NHS there is no charge to the patient other than the prescription charge, from 1 April 2021 £9.35 per prescription item in England, that applies to medicines dispensed in the community. Around 89% of prescriptions are dispensed free of charge due to the extensive list of prescription charge exemptions. Since 1968, the only change to the list of medical exemption criteria was the introduction of the exemption for people undergoing cancer treatment in 2009, including the effects of cancer, or the effects of current or previous cancer treatment.

Answered by

Department of Health and Social Care