Prescriptions Charges and Exemptions
Extensive exemption and remission arrangements protect those likely to have difficulty in paying charges (NHS prescription and dental charges, optical and hospital travel costs).
The NHS prescription charge is a flat-rate amount which successive Governments have thought it reasonable to charge for those who can afford to pay for their medicines. Prescription prepayment certificates (PPCs) offer real savings for people who need extensive medication.
From 1 April 2017, the charges are:
- Prescription (per item): £8.60
- 3-month PPC: £29.10
- 12-month prepayment certificate (PPC): £104.00
If you will have to pay for four or more prescription items in three months, or more than 14 items in 12 months, you may find it cheaper to buy a PPC.
The most convenient way to pay for a 12-month PPC is by Direct Debit, which allows you to spread the cost by paying for it in 10 monthly instalments. For more information:
If you need more than 12 prescription items per year and have to pay for your prescriptions you could save money by purchasing a Prepayment Certificate (PPC). The most convenient way to pay for a 12-month PPC is by Direct Debit, which allows you to spread the cost by paying for it in 10 monthly instalments.
Number of prescribed medicines you need each month
Saving with a 12-month PPC
Saving with a three-month PPC
Over £95 a year
Over £20 in three months
Over £195 a year
Over £45 in three months
How to apply for a Prescription Prepayment Certificate (PPC)
Please check if you are entitled to free prescriptions before you apply for your PPC.
It's quickest to buy your PPC online. The PPC will start from the day you submit your application, unless you request a different start date. However, the start date must be within one month before or after the date of your application.
If you prefer talking to someone, you can call the PPC order line on 0300 330 1341. Again, your certificate is valid from the day you make the phone call unless you request otherwise.
Ensure you have your bank details or credit/debit card details ready.
Although the PPC is valid from the day of your application (unless otherwise requested) it may take a couple of days to receive your certificate. This means, until your certificate arrives you won’t be able to provide evidence that you hold a PPC, so you may have to pay for your prescription and ask for a refund afterwards.
You can apply by post as well. Complete and sign your application form and send it with a cheque, postal order or credit/debit card details to:
NHS Help with Health Costs
PPC Issue Office
PO Box 854
Newcastle upon Tyne