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English Prescriptions (why not for free?)

Hello there, i'm not sure if this is the right place to ask but i'm finding it hard to pay for my prescriptions at the moment so my family helps me. I currently buy the 3 month certificates where I get unlimited medicine within them 3 months.

The problem is, I have other members of my family with other medical conditions (also deadly like mine) yet they get thier medication for free. Why is this and is there any plans to make asthma medication free in the future? I think it's wrong to have one rule for one and one rule for another.

I also suffer from a severe allergy to Peanuts and nuts, factor 5 yet I have to pay for my adrenaline pen for that also.

If other people can have glaucoma and diabetes and get thier medication for free, then why can't I? I hope I'm not coming across as selfish but that's the way I see it.

Thank you for reading.


22 Replies


Hi greg

i,m in glasgow but i,m not sure if its to do with your postcode, or just the fact you are working, it is unfair as your illness ar not self inflicted as are some peoples out there. My youngest has a severe nut allergy and egg and pulses also and she gets the epi pen, but I would have a word with your doctor you be able to get an exemption certificate, sorry I couldnt be of more help



I feel quite strongly about this disparity too, i.e. between different parts of the UK and also different conditions - however I think everyone should pay! (Apart from a dispensation for those on a low income, kids and the elderly, who already get free scripts anyway)

It's cheap enough at only £100 or so a year, and so many drugs are wasted, at huge cost to our struggling NHS, that at least having to pay a small amount towards the cost discourages people from having scripts filled when they've no intention of taking the drug

If you time your ""repeats"" carefully, i.e. get one in just before your 3-month certificate expires, then order your new cert for when your next repeat is due, you can probably get away with paying well under £100 a year. It's a bargain.


This is very much a recurring topic on this board, and I agree completely.

My stance remains: Either all prescriptions should be free, or NONE of them should be - and because of the state the NHS is in, the latter is more likely! Whichever, both are the only fair means of dealing with the situation.

Mel_gee - Your youngest gets Epi-pens free because all prescriptions for under 16s are free. You can only get an exemption certificate under certain circumstances; if your income is below a certain level or if you have one of the qualifying illnesses (of which asthma and anaphylaxis are not included).



Wow, i'm soo suprised at these responses and soo quickly! thanks soo much!

Polly, I somewhat agree with you that all should pay or the serious things that matter (asthma and severe allergies) should be paid for by the NHS.

Fair enough, £100 is cheap but why do some people have exceptions from paying for thier scripts with less fatal conditions? fair enough, diabeties for example is a terrible condition but so is my peanut allergy, and so is my asthma.

Why do they get the special treatment and we don't?

I'm not meaning to sound rude, but I don't think it should be one rule for one and one rule for another.

I totally agree with you Peaksteve, thanks for posting :)

I'm going to speak to my asthma nurse about it next week in my monthly checkup.



free prescriptions

I have just had a reply from my PM on a nice House of Commons paper and vouched in English, which as we know is a language designed to put all other peoples in their place....after us.

Anyway this is the reply to the blanket letter that a number of us signed to be sent to our respective MP's .

But please do not be ill in France or Germany or the USA as the reality of life may be shown to you.

Ask your Doctor if there is/are any of the medicines that are a duplication of treatment, and if so may you stop one or more of them. Remember Doctors are very good at covering thier well paid backs, and so prescribe medicines as though they are smarties. Before members of the medical ilk start shouting panto like, oh no they don't...N.I.C.E knows better...oh yes they do!!!



I find your comments quite highly offensive. I get very, very tired of ill-informed people with incorrect perceptions of reality making comments like this.

I prescribe a medication if it is needed. If it is not needed, I do not prescribe it. I am not sure what you mean to imply by the comment that ""NICE knows better"". NICE (The National Institute for Clinical Effectiveness, for anyone reading this who is wondering who NICE are) is an independent body set up to look at the cost-effectiveness of various treatments - both medications and proceedures/appliances. They made recommendations, in the form of guidelines, about what treatments are to be recommended and which are not - in terms of cost-effectiveness. I'm sure everyone will appreciate that, working in the environment of a limited budget which has to provide as much healthcare as possible to as many people as possible, cost-effectiveness is important. In an ideal world, it wouldn't be. But we don't live in an ideal world, we have to operate within the constraints of budgets. But regardless of that, NICE guidelines are exactly that - guidelines, NOT statutes. If I feel a treatment is justified, but NICE don't recommend it, then I can still prescribe it - I won't get my knuckles rapped for doing so.

I, along with the grand majority of the medical profession, do not ""prescribe medicine like smarties"". We have a prescribing budget. We have to work within that. If we overspend on prescribing, other services suffer. If a doctor prescibed inappropriately, then they could have their registration called into question. Medications can be dangerous when used inappropriately.

And - before you start accusing doctors of profiting from prescribing medications - no, we don't. At all. As described above, it actually *costs* to prescribe medications.

So please, before you start making sweeping generalisations, try to understand how the health service is actually financed.

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I can vouch for the fact that docs don't prescibe willy nilly!

I find my repeats form every now & again has undergone a tidy up and less prescribed meds have been removed from it. I can still get them though has to be aproved by the GP (Avoids an appointment which is good) My GP goes through my prescription list every 6 months with me to check what I am taking and bump off the ones not needed.

They also question if I ask for a repeat less that 3 weeks since last one eg nebs!

Stephen, I am not a Health pro but I find the tone of your message offensive too!


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I also back up Cathbear 100% and think you (Stephenf) perhaps should have your facts straight before making such a sweeping statement against all GPs.

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In light of the comments received regrding you last post, and having read through it myself, I feel that you need to think long and hard about what you're hoping to get from your use of this message board.

In one post you have succeeded in offending every health professional who posts on this board. You have essentially flamed a sizable group of message board users and this is an offence for which am issuing you with a formal warning.

I think that Cathbear and Kate Moss in particular have given two excellent responses demonstrating that your ""information"" is far from accurate.




I get free prescriptions because I'm a full time student. I turn 18 in about a week, will i still get free prescriptions? I will still be a full time student for another year.

What about when i go to university?

I will still be a full time student, but do i still get free prescriptions then?


Haagendaaz - you get free prescriptions until you are 19, if you remain in full time education.

When you're due to turn 19, you'll need to fill in form HC1 to apply for prescriptions exemption on the grounds of low income. You'll need to declare any income and savings and they'll assess you to see if you meet the criteria. If you do, then you'll be exempt from prescription charges.

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ok :) thank you very much!



I can't believe the responses to stephenf! OK I don't agree with him either (apart from that gp's are well-paid, which undeniably they are) but aren't people on this board entitled to their opinions? Without stern ""what do you hope to get from this board"" warnings?

aren't we allowed to say things that might ""offend health professionals"" then??? that is dangerous territory indeed in a free society

this is just my opinion, of course! perhaps i'll now be accused of flaming too?




You have misconstrued the warning given.

Let me give you an example.

I come on the board and say ""My doctor is stupid, he prescribes medicines like smarties and doesn't listen to me"". That may or may not be fair comment, but everyone is entitled to their opinion, as you rightly say. No-one can refute that, as they haven't met my doctor.

Contrast that with me coming on the board and saying ""All doctors are stupid, they prescribe medicines like smarties and never listen to anyone"". I think if you look at it in that light you will see that the postings below weren't fair, particularly when rounded off with a comment which suggests the poster's unshakeable belief that they are right and no-one else could possibly refute their argument. How would you feel if someone posted to say, ""All *insert own occupation here* make money out of the government's/public's purse and swindle the people they are supposed to be helping""? I think you might be pretty cross.

All we ask when people post on this board is that they are polite and respectful towards other board users. As I have said *so* many times before, everyone is entitled to their own opinions - but insulting, sweeping generalisations which are untrue are *not* acceptable.



You won't be accused of flaming, because your post certainly isn't a flame. It is fair, measured and invites a response; exactly what we ask of users of this message board.

Stephenf's post, on the other hand, does none of these things. It is not fair (it contains a wildly inaccurate sweeping generalisation), it is not measured (indeed, it is very sarcastic) and it actively prevents a response! Moreover, it flames a good number of members of this message board because it flames ALL doctors.

The warning, and my comment regarding ""what you expect to get from this message board"" are not related purely to this one post, but to a look back through Stephenf's posting history and complants received about his posts in the past (particularly the post where he said he'd decided to stop taking all of his meds because he felt okay). Indeed, Stephenf seems to not realise that the different asthma medications do different things, and that it is in fact common for asthmatics to be on a number of drugs that, on the face of it, perform the same task. But rather than asking about this he has assumed that this is some cunning way for GPs to make money!

Also, in response to your remark about doctors being ""undeniably well paid""; I think not. Lower-grade doctors are paid less than the average salary for a car production line worker was at Peugeot before the factory in Coventry closed down. Even the highest-paid GPs and consultants are only earning 1/52 the salary of a mediocre Premiership footballer - does that seem fair, considering the amount of training they go through, or the responsibility on their shoulders throughout their working days?


Hmmm, yes, in relation to ""other behaviour"" on the board you may like to see the ""Word Game"" thread.


I was just surprised by the reaction. I admit I haven't read stephenf's posts before so don't know what offence has been caused. Maybe I'm harder to offend. CathBear, someone could say ""all solicitors are crooks"" and I would think that was rather silly but it wouldn't worry me, because I know it isn't true. Having said that, there are bad (or less good) apples in all professions. My own GP and consultant are first-rate, totally caring and wonderful and I trust them implicitly, but we can't pretend everyone is so lucky.

No, compared with premiership footballers gp's certainly aren't well-paid! That's true. But compared with many other jobs/professions they are (as are solicitors). I'm thinking nurses, paramedics. teachers, social workers, charity workers. Note I say ""well-paid"" not ""over-paid"". It's all subjective of course.



Thanks Polly, I appreciate your thoughts. Perhaps I felt so strongly about this because suggesting that doctors are profiteering and underhand goes so harshly against the very tenets of the profession - that doctors are honest, trustworthy and have the care of the patient as their very first concern, above all others. I myself believe in this very strongly. Of course I know that there will be the very few bad eggs in the basket, as there are in all walks of life. I simply felt that implying all doctors were the same was insulting and, above all, patently wrong - particularly because it was based on a entirely untrue assumption that doctors prescribe medications to make money out of patients.

Don't get me wrong, I'm used to ""all doctors are useless"" comments and I just learnt to ignore them. I think the manner in which this comment was made was part of the justification for the response.


Yes I do understand where you're coming from CathBear. Sometimes after a hard day at the prescription pad (title deeds in my case!) I'm sure you can hear one negative comment too many! The media doesn't help either. All you hear is the bad news. Did you see the MRSA documentary on BBC2 earlier in the week? I know MRSA is a problem in our hospitals (and communities) and the programme did have a point to make - mainly about politicians actually - but I feel so sorry for the staff, no wonder they're demoralised.

Um, just noticed your last post and have looked at Word Game . . . nuff said



Sorry guys, I never meant to cause any arguments with this thread :(


Greg, I was just about to apologise to YOU for hijacking your thread! Sorry! Definitely no apology needed from you

let's all return to your original point about prescription charges

by the way, in my first post you will notice I do agree with you on the unfairness of different rules for different ailments/areas of the country, my point was that it would be fairer (and more economic for the nhs) if everyone paid something - I am just concerned about the waste of drugs which goes on and that no charges at all could make this worse

what do you think about the proposal to charge for visits to the gp? that's a hot potato. I don't think I'd go that far tho!


My brother has diabetes, I have brittle asthma.

He gets free prescriptions I have to pay.

He has never had a day off sick, a hospital stay or any other complication. I have several stays in ICU each year resulting in far too much time off work on SSP!

some things suck.

I do agree that it should be one rule across the board. But I don't resent paying £100 a year for medications which in my case cost the NHS several hundred pounds a month.

Alasdair gets a couple of needles a few test strips and his insulin refills.

I get 5 accuhalers, 6 boxs of flixotide nebs, 5 boxs of ventoline nebs, a box of ipratropium nebs, my singulair, my pred, calci-chew, alendronicacid, every month/ That is assuming I'm well, if I get ill, there will be the antibiotics and thrush treatment that goes with that, and a 50/50 chance of a trip to ICU followed by a 2-3 week hospital stay.

I cost the NHS a fortune, and don't think £100 a year is bad. after all I don't think I could ever pay enough in NI contributions to cover what I have cost, just thus far, to stay alive!


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