More patients are not collecting scripts due to cost of living
An increasing number of patients in England are not collecting their prescriptions and some are asking pharmacists what medicines they can do without because of the rising cost of living, according to a study by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.
The professional leadership body revealed one in two pharmacists who responded to the survey said that in the last six months, there have increasingly been situations where patients ask them for advice on the prescription items they could go without “due to affordability issues.”
Two out of three pharmacists said there had been an increase in patients enquiring about cheaper, over-the-counter medicines instead of the one on their prescription. The survey was conducted among RPS members between November 29 and December 5 and received 269 responses.
English Pharmacy Board chair Thorrun Govind said she was “deeply concerned that people are having to make choices about their health based on their ability to pay.” The prescription charge in England is £9.35 per item but is free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“No-one should have to make choices about rationing their medicines and no-one should be faced with a financial barrier to getting the medicines they need,” she said, reiterating the RPS’s long-standing call for the prescription charge in England to be abolished.
“Prescription charges are an unfair tax on health which disadvantages working people on lower incomes who are already struggling with food and energy bills.
“Reducing access to medicines leads to poorer health, time off work and can result in admissions to hospital, the cost of which must be set against any income gained from prescription charges.”
The RPS highlighted ways for patients to save money on their prescriptions, including buying a prescription prepayment certificate, approaching pharmacists for cheaper equivalent medicines and asking them and GPs for a medicine review to establish if it is appropriate.