It might seem tough, but that isn't true. (Well, "should" might be but the reality isn't.)
The actual NHS England rules are:
People with certain medical conditions can get free NHS prescriptions if they hold a valid medical exemption certificate.
You can get all your NHS prescriptions free if you have a valid medical exemption certificate because you have:
a permanent fistula (for example, caecostomy, colostomy, laryngos-tomy or ileostomy) which needs continuous surgical dressing or an appliance;
a form of hypoadrenalism (for example, Addison’s Disease) for which specific substitution therapy is essential;
diabetes insipidus and other forms of hypopituitarism;
diabetes mellitus, except where treatment is by diet alone;
myxoedema (that is, hypothyroidism which needs thyroid hormone replacement);
epilepsy which needs continuous anticonvulsive therapy;
a continuing physical disability which means you cannot go out without the help of another person; or
cancer and are undergoing treatment for:
- the effects of cancer; or,
- the effects of cancer treatment.
You can only get a certificate if you have a condition on the list. If you are not sure about the name of your condition, check with your doctor. Doctors may advise you about free prescriptions. However, it is up to you to find out if you are entitled to an exemption certificate.
There are many chromic conditions that do not fall within these conditions - almost certainly most chronic conditions don't.
There is always the PPC if not eligible:
Prescription prepayment certificates (PPCs)