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Overpayment on prescriptions reached £43m in 2021-22


Overpayment on prescriptions reached £43m in 2021-22

Figures from the NHS Business Services Authority have revealed that more than a million people in England overpaid a combined £42.6m in prescription payments in the 12 months up to April last year because they did not buy an NHS prescription prepayment certificate (PPC).

A freedom of information request by to the NHSBSA found 1,064,992 people paid for a minimum of 12 prescriptions during 2021-22, equating to an average of 16 items.

That, said, resulted in those people overpaying by around £40 each over those 12 months as they did not get a PPC which covers all NHS prescriptions for a set price. The data also revealed 1,063,648 people overpaid for their prescriptions in 2020-21.

The number of people who could have saved money on prescriptions by getting a PPC has increased steadily since 2015-16 and exceeded one million in the last four financial years.

A PPC costs £30.25 for three months and £108.10 for 12 months. The prescription charge in England is £9.35 for each item but there is no charge in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The founder of Martin Lewis said more needed to be done to ensure people who regularly pay for prescriptions are aware of PPCs.

“England is the only one of the four UK nations that charges for prescriptions, and so it's frustrating to hear that many people are still paying more than they need to, especially at a time when every penny counts towards bills,” he said.

“We need to spread the word to anyone who regularly gets prescriptions, including some with chronic illnesses, to check out prescription prepayment certificates.

“My simple rule of thumb is if you get more than one prescription a month, on average these 'season tickets' are the cheapest option as they cap what you need to pay. For a one-off payment, you get unlimited prescriptions for either three months or a year.

“So, someone getting, say, two prescriptions a month would save over £100 a year. If you think that's you, check it out now in case we see another price hike at the beginning of spring.”

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