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Should Asthma Sufferers get free prescription.

I think asthma suffers should get free prescriptions as it is life threatening.What do other people think?.

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If people with other chronic diseases can get free prescriptions in UK (I don't know still how the system works in this respect... should go and do some reserch) then asthma sufferers should be entaitled to them too.

Back home (Poland) I can get some of my meds for free, but only those directly related to my asthma. I don't get free antibiotics for example but my inhalers are free. For some reason I need to pay full amount for those posh antyhistamines I have been prescribed and they cost quite a bit :/. Becouse in here I would have to pay for my inhalers I always end up bringing a full suitcase with me hoping that I won't have to explain myself to castom lol.

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I live in the US, and most people are covered with insurance, so we dont have to pay full price. Back in norway where i used to live the state would cover all of it, so you didnt have to pay for anything.

However, i think it is unfair that people with other chronic diseases dont have to pay at all for their prescription medications. I took this up with my doctor once and where should the companies that make the medication get the money? its complicated i guess, because if we didnt pay then someone else would have to pay, but where should they get the money, and if no one payed the companies that make the medicine they wouldnt be able to make it because they would be broke. I hope that makes sense. I still think its very unfair that other people dont have to pay for it.

I think that if people who dont have enough money they shouldnt pay, which i know there are plans for, so that they dont have to pay, or at least here in the US they do. And there are also plans where you dont have to pay as much for prescription drugs as originally. So there are plans out there for the people who needs it. Thats just how the worlds economy works i guess...

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I am one of the ""lucky"" ones who gets free presciptions because I have epilepsy. If you are in one of the exempt groups you get all medications free not just those for the condition that exempts you. Because of this, I get an awful lot of free prescriptions each year. GPs are generally only allowed to prescribe two months worth of medication to a time and so, every other month, I get 16 different items (and that is when I am ""well"").

I agree totally that people with asthma should get free prescriptions, after all the drugs are needed to treat what can be a life-threatening problem.

However, does that mean that everyone who is prescribed a ventolin inhaler would then be exempt from paying for any prescriptions, or would it be limited to people needing more than that - i.e. those on steroid inhalers or anything more than just a standard ventolin inhaler. I am only querying this because ventolin inhalers are given out so routinely now - I know I was regularly prescribed them when I had chest infections, years before actually developing asthma. I can see that this would be a reason for the NHS not wanting to include asthma - however wrong that might be.

Other than that, yes I think that asthma should be an exempt category and that once you are in this category you should be covered for all prescriptions. After all, many of us end up having to take drugs to help prevent osteoporosis and similar which are not strictly asthma medications.

If I had to pay for all my prescriptions I just wouldn't have them.

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This is a topic we've had many discussions on on the old board and it is a very complex subject. Perhaps some kind of grading should be put in place? Just off the top of my head, something like the worse your asthma, the less you should pay, some kind of discount maybe? Although currently my asthma refuses to let me forget about it, i am still only on 2 inhaler, a preventer and a reliever, i do need a lot of other non -asthma related drugs so therefore have a pre-paid certificate. What I am saying in a very long winded way is that if i just had to get the inhalers it wouldn't cost me a fortune as dr gives me 2 of each at once so i don't consider myself to need free prescriptions BUT there are many people, many on here that have to take a lot of asthma meds to literally keep them alive and i think that yes they should either get them for free or at least have some kind of discount towards the cost of it all, after all, if they didn't have their inhalers etc... they could very easily die, the same as a diabetic will without insulin.

Just my thoughts on the subject lol

Christine

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The costs of administering complex benefits systems often outweigh the net value distributed to the claimants. One example in the U.K. is the C.S.A. (Child Support Agency) & another suspect is the tax credits system (working tax credit, child tax credit, pension tax credit). I think all U.K. passport holders with a valid N.I. number should get free prescription drugs and the costs borne by a small increase in N.I. contributions by all.

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What difference does it make if you have or not the UK passport? If somone is paying their tax and NI in this country they should be entaitled to the full benefits regardless of the nationality. If they don't contribute it is fair enough not to give them benefits but if they are supporting the system from their income they should be able to get sth in return.

I still think that it should be means tested. After all the cost of the prescription in case of most of the medication is just a fraction of the real cost so all people entaitled to NHS service are getting support in terms of medication cost. Whether this support needs to be increased should in my opinion depend on income. I totaly agree though that the cost of finding out whether people are eligible or not and of running the whole system can be radiculus. I don't know how to solve it so that is why I want to be a doctor and not a politician lol.

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Well I am 16 and i get free prescriptions because i am in full time education, what happen when i hit 19 ?? i will be in uni and wont have money to kep having to go and pay for my prescriptions - also do you have to pay for the ammount of medication you have on one prescription - if so thats 5 or more medications a month !! and if you ad medications for infections,or nebs your stuffed !!

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We've had this dicussion before. Means testing is about saying you earn one pound over the limit so you pay the full whack whereas the other person pays a reduced rate without taking into account the fact that one may have different circumstances to the other. It is an arbitary system and tends not to work. The people who tend to be worse off under this type of system are the ones in the middle around the means tested mark. Those that are not well off get everything paid for and those that are well off can afford it but what about those in the middle?

I agree with Dr Who in some ways, if you are in receipt or entitled to a British Passport OR in receipt of an NI number because you are paying taxes then you should be able to get ALL your prescriptions free. After all what are we paying our NI for?

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In ideal word everyone should get free prescriptions but what to do when there is not enough to go around? Is it better to have means tested help for those who really need it or expect everyone to pay for their prescriptions?

It could be worse, we could be all asked to pay full amount for each drug which could be in the range of 1000s of pounds for some treatments. I don't know what exaclty the money from NI is spend on (soemthing tells me that not much actualy goes for the front line patient care though) but learge amounts are going already towards the costs of those very expensive drugs used for example in cancer chemotherapy. Maybe even larger amounts are wasted somwhere paying for outside contractors, developing useless policies etc and those resources could be used towards free prescriptions, I don't know.

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Don't forget the pre-paid card which allows you to get unlimited prescriptions for a fixed amount - currently about £95 I think - per year. If you break that down that's only £1.83 per week, which is less than the cost of a pint.

I have been in the ""poor student"" boat, and somehow didn't fit the means testing for free prescriptions, but £1.83 was less than the price of a pint even when I was in digs. Is it really much to pay for unlimited prescription medication?

Money from NI does go into the health service otherwise the NHS simply wouldn't exist. Free prescriptions for all would be ideal but we already are in a very priviliged position in the country in getting most of our healthcare for free. And if you extend free prescriptions to asthmatics then where do you stop? Cardiac patients also need a hell of a lot of medications to survive yet they don't qualify either.

A review of the means testing policy is probably needed, as is wider publicity regarding the avilability of the pre-pay card (and no, you don't have to pay for it in one lump sum).

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The problem is that there *are* disabilities that qualify for free prescriptions, but the list dates from the 1960s and is hopelessly out-of-date.

The NHS simply couldn't afford to provide us with free prescriptions; our NI goes towards many things, included the heavily subsidised cost of prescriptions now. The Seretide 250 Evohaler, for example, has a nett cost of £66.98 per inhaler (and the over-the-counter price be even higher) - yet to us Brits it's still only £6.90 on prescription.

You can't argue that asthma patients deserve free meds more than, say, cardiac patients - or indeed, *any* patients whose illness doesn't qualify for free scripts. No group of patients is more deserving than another where chronic illnesses are concerned. So let's abolish the ""free scripts"" list altogether; this is the only fair way to work it.

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The Bumper Book of Government Waste

The point is that free prescriptions at the point of sale ('cos we all know nothing is free in this world) could be a possibility if money was not wasted elsewhere. If you want to know where £81bn (£81,000,000,000) of our money is being squandered, you could get hold of the book entitled ""The Bumper Book of Government Waste"" see harriman-house.com pages/book.htm?BookCode=22852.

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Uni

Katielou....im at uni and obv have 2 pay 4 prescriptions. I have a pre-payment certificate which has been a god send as i dread to think the cost others!

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Maybe free scripts for chronic conditions should just be free for meds needed to control that illness not all illness.

I am type 2 diabetic, for some reason the day i was diagnosed last summer i was told all prescriptions will now be free. OK if diabetes is one of free list meds give me diabetic related tablets but why on earth do i get the whole lot free?

If I ever needed painkillers, anti biotics etc etc I think that should be paid for.

Sorry if this is coming out wrong cos I prob sound ungrateful but I think there are some people more medically in need, fortunatly my sons too young to worry about cost of meds but in a few years he will need to pay and i would far rather let my free entitlement be given to people like him who need the meds to stay alive! I think the whole free entitlement system needs tightening up.

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i agree with julie. as asthma sufferers and all sufferers of chronic illness should be able to recieve free prescriptions. why should we have to pay for medicine that keeps us safe?

I dont agree with the idea that lesser meds should incurr a charge. Because of chest pains, i'm regularly given painkillers by my doc and as i have low immunity i get infections alot (particularly chest) and need antibiotics to get better. I think all chronic illness sufferes should get all their meds free by default

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I think we have to be realistic here. Free meds for all chronic illnesses is *never* going to happen. The NHS simply could not afford it. And I don't see why, for example, a multi-millionaire should get free meds when a person who just fails to qualify for income support has to pay, just because of the illness each one has.

Asthma has many stages of severity; at which point should you start getting free meds? I have friends who have been diagnosed as having asthma and all they have is a blue inhaler which they very rarely need to use. Do they deserve free meds more than cardiac patients?

I very much agree that getting ALL meds free just because you have an excempted disability seems ridiculous. But I keep coming back to the fact that having *any* illnesses that qualify for free meds is just plain unfair.

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thing is peaksteve, we are thinking realisticly, most people on these boards have many different medications as well as a blue inhaler. and i for one use my reliever on a day to day basis. why shouldnt the medication that keeps me safe and out of hospital be free?

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It is true that most pf people on this board require a lot of medication however looking at it on the scale of the whole country most of people diagnosed with asthma use blue inhaler only. Number of people with this sort of mild asthma are ever growing and giving them all free prescriptions is not only imposible from economical point of view but also unfair. They are not that different (as their condition does not cose disability or much trouble on every day basis) from rest of the public so why they should be gerring free prescriptions. So where the line should be drawn? Goverment is doing quite a good job by subsidizing prescriptions heavily so that drugs can be considered afordable (real cost of some inhalers is around 60 pounds and we are not asked to pay so much). I think they should either get rid of free prescriptions for certain diseases altogether or include all chronic diseases on the list but with only certain medications, required directly as a result of chronic disease being free.

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I just want to comment on what various people have said about only getting free prescriptions on drugs that are directly related to the condition. It sounds like a good idea but i reckon it would mean a change in how a prescription is printed so that somehow it tells the pharmastist that something is related to asthma for example. Because otherwise how are they to know that you are being prescribed antibiotics for a chest infection, or just for a foot infection that is not related to you asthma? I'm sure tho there is a way to put a signal next to the item being prescribed that is related to asthma

Hope that makes sense to everyone!

Christine

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Wendy - I'm not saying that the meds that keep you out of hospital shouldn't be free. But there are many other illnesses that don't qualify for free meds where hospitalisation (or worse) will occur if the meds aren't taken. Asthma meds are no more worthy of being free than any of these others.

But I *am* being realistic when I say that free meds for all chronic illnesses will never happen. Sorry, but they won't. There's not enough cash in the NHS for them and how do you determine which illnesses that don't currently qualify for free meds should and which shouldn't? Simple answer is... you can't! So unless ALL of chronic illnesses can be exempt from prescription charges, NONE of them should be.

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I currently get my prescriptions free as I am on benefits BUT if I was working, would be quite happy to buy a pre payment certificate to cover my meds.

Tis a tricky one though!

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Prescription charges are just an extra tax on the sick. I am quite sure that the government would save millions by cutting all the bureacratic nonsense involved in the means testing system, and just provide everyone with free prescriptions regardless. If we can all get pre-paid cards for £95 p.a, then surely the government could recoup this amount by similar increases in yearly NI contributions. The resulting system would be much fairer and cheaper to administer.

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I've been fighting for years to get my scripts free!

After years of trying they finally gave me FULL help with costs (HC2) in January this year!

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I would very much like to see opinion of people without chronic ilness who buy maybe one prescription a year about being forced to pay yet more NI contribution. I am sure this idea would get goverment some extra votes as all citisens are extremly altruistic and will do anything to support ill and infirm.

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I guess the days when governments did what was right, rather than what would win them the most votes, died in 1948 when Atlee's Labour government introduced the National Health Service to provide FREE medical treatment for everyone, and was promptly voted out of office two years later. I bet they wish they hadn't bothered.

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Speaking as someone who last had a prescription about 7 years ago...

The NHS are already subsidising those who get free scripts; and if you're asking those who pay NI to pay extra in order to get free scripts, what I say is... what's the point? Surely those who are at work and therefore pay NI could afford the less-than-£2-per-week for a pre-pay certificate.

I'm sure that the government would be able to afford the extra cost if it didn't haemorrhage money left, right and centre. That's the answer.

The title of this thread is ""should asthma sufferers get free prescriptions""? Yes, they should. BUT so should everyone else.

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Hi I do get free scripts because I have a Hickman line and other access points and a large baxter pump attached at all times. but I do feel the system is unfair because most of you have to pay for numerous medicines whilst someone with say diabetes controlled by tablets can get them free plus all medicines for any other condition. I appreciate it would be difficult to draw a line under who should qualify and who shouldn't.

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Pessimism!!

Being cynical, one thing I do wonder is how long it will be before the cost of Prepayment Certificates is significantly raised. The current state of the NHS does not bode well for the future and I can foresee a sudden rise sooner or later, after all the price of these certificates has not gone up very much in the last few years.

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the way i see it, why should we have to pay when other chronic disease sufferers get off.

maybe there should be a critera that needs to be met for free prescriptions then that will ensure that the free prescriptions go to those who need it most.

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Now, I DO completely agree with that, Wendy! It should be that we all pay or we all get free scripts, and not be dependent on a seemingly arbitrary list of illnesses!

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Ok. Following up from my post about free prescription drugs to all UK N.I. payers I would just like to comment about someone I know. Due to a self imposed bad diet of excess alcohol & fatty foods, this overweight guy ( >25st ) developed diabetes for which he could obtain free prescription drugs. He later went on to have a heart attack followed by a triple bypass by the age of 55. He has now developed COPD (COAD) for which he has been prescribed inhalers - free of course because of his other conditions. Despite all this, he is still over 22 stone, continues to stuff himself full of fat & sugar & if it wasn't for the free prescription Warfarin to prevent his blood clotting & another heart attack, would be drinking a bottle of red a day. Meanwhile, health conscious asthmatics still have to pay for their medication. Please don't tell me this is fair - it sucks & it's time the system was reviewed.

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Thank you, Dr Who, for a perfect example of why the system at the moment is so unfair.

Would it seem such a problem if the guy you're talking about had to pay for his prescriptions? No.

Would it seem such a problem if everyone had free prescriptions? Possibly, since he's hardly helping himself, but no, not really.

But at the moment...?

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THis is a subject that could go back and forth and be argued about for ages. I don't think anyone has a right to say wether someone deserves free prescriptions or not. Especially just cause someone is overweight, i mean he may have a problem you don't know about. The rules for who gets what are unfair, people with CF for example are born with a genetic disorder, through no fault of their own, don't get free scripts, along with many other people, including us asthma sufferers. I don't think anyone is more deserving then another really. I agree it should be means tested but not illness based. Someone who cannot afford their drugs and will die without them should get free or cheeper at least ones. But this is something that doesn't look like its going to change in a hurry.

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Why should ability to pay be linked to ability to die?

You either have a life-threatening illness or not and therefore everyone in that circumstance should be treated equally.

In terms of means testing, where do you draw the line:- A single person earning £20k living on his own is just as likely to qualify for free prescriptions as a family of 4 earning the same amount. Why should the single person be able to gain it when the chances are he/she spends his/her earnings on smoke and booze when the family spend it on living?

Life should not be linked to earnings in any circumstance.

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should asthma sufferers get free prescriptions

I think certain drugs should be available free rather than people with particular conditions getting everythin free eg diabetics getting free drugs for their diabetes but pay for other prescriptions eg antibiotics. asthmatics should get their inhalers free and steroids etc. if required. someone with hypothyroidism gets thyroxine free but nit their other prescriptions. that way the essential drugs that can be life-saving are free but other non-life threatening conditions' prescriptions can be paid for. I have suffered with my asthma for years but learnt to live with it rather than having regular prescriptions, now my asthma is so bad that I have to take a variety of regular inhalers and now have to get them on pre-paid prescriptions which is still a big expense each time it has to be renewed.

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Incidently Peaksteve, that guy I was ranting on about is on a higher salary than me too - much higher.

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Nutbug, the guy eats too much. His problem is that he is a glutten. He'd rather take his insulin than loose weight - which I am told would obviate the need for the insulin.

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Obviously it's not possible for everyone to have free prescriptions... the prescription charge is already subsisised. However I do agree that asthma can be life threatening and therefore people with life threatening asthma should recieve free prescriptions. One of the problems with asthma is the degree of whic someone suffers.... there are millions of people who have reliever mediaction and use it occasionally and there are a few who require constant life saving medicatin to survive. I personally have life threatening brittle asthma and came off the ventilator AGAIN 3 days ago... I have 12 items on my prescription every month and pay for them ( i use a pre payment certificate).

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It's not at all obvious that it's ""not possible for everyone to have free prescriptions"". When the NHS was originally set up in 1948 by the Atlee labour government, it was genuinely a free health service, and there were no prescription charges. Prescription charges are already heavily subsidised, so the relatively small extra government funds that would be required if prescription charges were abolished, could easily be met by the savings made from the reduced administration costs involved in the current wasteful system of means/illness testing.

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I guess I am in the minority that has a exemption certificate as I have a underactive Thyroid. At the time I did question why all perscriptiosn are free and not just the Thyroxine and I was advised it is too difficult to manage and therefore a 100% exemption is given.

Even though I do benefit, I do feel this is unfair and that only Thyroxine should be free and if the government decides, asthma meds as well. I don't know the criteria the Government uses to determine who pays or doesn't and am unsure if it's as simple as something is life threatening or not.

I guess if pushed for an opinion it would be that the person should be means tested on their ability to pay rather than the illness being taken into acount but I can see the massive pitfalls in this statement.

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i'm afraid i totally agree with you i take numerous medication to control my asthma in fact over 17 different types aday and have to pay for them all! I however pay every 4 monthly as i can't afford the year one in all one go but if i didn't take them i'd never be out of hospital!

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free prescriptions

I agree that the presciptions for asthma suffers should be free as these inhalers/nebs and steriods help keep us well most of te time. You are told by various professionals that asthma is not life threatening if you take your medication yet people die every year.

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mp, those who say that asthma is not life-threatening should try living with brittle asthma.

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I agree that asthma suffers should get free prescription because some people do not take there inhalers as they cannot afford it.

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If you can't afford inhalers because you are on a low income you should fill out form HC11 for help with healthcare costs.

You can see more information here:

dh.gov.uk/en/PolicyAndGuida...

If you do not qualify for this, you can get a prescription prepayment certificate - a three month one costs £26.85, and a twelve month one costs £98.70, or about £1.90 a week. It is cost effective to do this if you need more than four items in three months, or more than fourteen items in twelve months. You need form FP95, get it from your GP or pharmacist or download it here: dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/gr...

Em H

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Other life threatening conditions get free prescriptions so why not asthmatics, every time I go to the pharmacist the charge seems to have gone up. I used to qualify for free prescriptions when I was a student but since graduating my combined household income means I'm no longer eligable, however means testing doesn't take into account my outgoings other than my rent and often I'm left choosing between buying food and paying bills, and paying for prescriptions. The response from my GP when he wanted to add another medicine to my repeat prescription and I told him I couldn't really afford it was to get a pre-pay certificate which is fine for people who can afford to pay out that much money in a lump sum but for me it's not a realistic option.

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Bea - withe pre payment you can pay quaterly and i think they now do a direct debit thing monthly so might be worth re visiting the possibility.

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Absolutely! If we couldn't afford prescriptions, we'd be taking up precious bedspaces in the NHS hospitals and many would die.

I buy a pre-payment certificate and this saves me a lot of money over the year, especially as I need regular meds for asthma, hayfever, Meniere's disease and anxiety/depression.

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