Lib-Dem MP Sir Bob Russell:
“Free prescriptions for those who need them to live””It is a matter of considerable concern that many people with long-term conditions are not collecting or taking their medicines effectively because of the cost, as is all too clearly illustrated in the Prescription Charges Coalition’s recent report “Paying the price”. The coalition surveyed almost 4,000 patients with long-term conditions and found that 35 per cent who paid for their prescriptions had not collected medicines due to cost.”
The Anaphylaxis Campaign is a member of The Prescription Charge Coalition, a group of more than 30 organisations campaigning to end unfair prescription charges for people with long term medical conditions, including severe allergies.
We are campaigning to extend exemption from prescription charges to all those with long-term conditions in England. The coalition brings together over 40 organisations representing hundreds of thousands of people with numerous long term health conditions. We are involved as the current system, created in 1968, is unfair and very out-of-date, with some long term conditions qualifying people for free prescriptions whilst others do not.
This affects us at the Anaphylaxis Campaign because allergy often requires regular and long term prescriptions which are not exempt from charges despite being essential to day to day quality of life and, in the case of adrenaline injectors, lifesaving.
The impact of paying for prescriptions whilst living with a long term condition is both serious and widespread as the Prescription Charges Coalition reports show. You can read the reports here
The Collation published their “Paying the Price” report on 11th March 2013. The report details the findings of an online survey which ran from 8th August – 31st October 2012 to explore the impact of prescription charges on people with long-term conditions in England in the current economic climate.
Past research and experience from health professionals has identified that prescription charges have had a significant impact on patients taking their medication correctly, despite the existence of the Prescription Prepayment Certificate and exemptions for charges for those with some specific medical conditions and for those in receipt of certain state benefits.
We hope to tackle this problem of expense and injustice through the Prescription Charges Coalition. For further information, and to get involved, visit the website here.
You can also show your support or share your experiences via Twitter at @prescriptionCC
What can you do to help?
We need your help to raise the profile of this issue and bring it to top of the agenda.
Keep on the pressure! Tweet your MP and copy us [email protected]
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Find out more on the campaign here.
- On 1st April 2016, prescription charges in England increased again to £8.40. The PCC are calling for people with long term conditions to be added to the medical exemption list
- Prescription Charges and Employment report 2014
- Mail on Sunday issue a piece on “prescription cheats” claiming pharmacists operating a ‘scandalously careless’ checking system helping fraudsters get free prescriptions | The Royal Pharmaceutical Society responded stating “Pharmacists are focused on providing lifesaving medicines, advice and care to patients, and rightly so, it is not their job to police the Government’s prescription exemption system.” “Guidance is very clear that pharmacists must put the clinical needs of a patient first, and not deny someone access to life-saving medicines because they haven’t got proof of exemption with them at the time of dispensing a medicine. The RPS stands four squares behind pharmacists on this. “The Society works with the Prescription Charges Coalition, a group of charities who represent people who pay prescription charges even though they have serious long term illnesses.” The response went on to summarise the findings of the “Paying the Price” report.
- An interesting article about the number of prescriptions issued in the community topping £1bn for the first time in GP Online
- Doctors leaders warned against reintroducing prescription charges in Northern Ireland| BMA Northern Ireland said the proposed move would impact on the health of the most vulnerable members of society. BMA Northern Ireland council chair Paul Darragh spoke out after it emerged health, social services and public safety minister Edwin Poots had submitted a paper on the issue to the Northern Ireland Executive. Mr Poots said he was in favour of bringing back prescription charges as a way of generating revenue to fund specialist drugs for life-limiting conditions such as cancer. However, Dr Darragh said: “The BMA supports free prescriptions. The patient is our first priority and while we see the need for cost efficiencies within the health service, we believe that government should fund the health service sufficiently to meet the healthcare needs of the population. Reintroducing prescription charges could have an adverse impact on the most vulnerable in society, elderly, poor and those with chronic conditions who require a lot of medication.”
- Scottish National Party — Report demolishes Labour prescription charge call | The SNP pointed to a report showing costs of prescriptions have reduced, blowing a hole in Labour’s calls to reintroduce charges after questioning their “affordability”. The cost to the Scottish Government for prescriptions has dropped by five per cent, while Audit Scotland has said at least £86 million could be saved annually from drugs that come off patent in 2012-13. The report also says there is scope to make savings of £26 million “without affecting patient care”. Previously, Labour in Scotland leader Johann Lamont said: “This isn’t about universal benefits versus means testing, it is about affordability. It is about examining policies which were affordable in times of growth, but which have become slogans which hurt those in need in times of recession”.