Since 1st April 2019, the National Health Service prescription charge rose from £8.80 to £9.00, affecting medication users all over the UK, many of which now struggle with paying all the fees to get healthy and stay healthy.
Too much medication usage can negatively affect your health, but, avoiding your trip to the doctor and not taking any medication when necessary, due to any reason whatsoever-like not having enough money or not wanting to pay for drugs, can worsen your health problems.
This gets even more complicated if you have conditions that require repeated medication intake, such as asthma. Whether you belong to this group, or just want to learn how to save money on prescriptions, there are some tips and facts you should know.
Groups that are qualified for free prescriptions
Even with the repeated rising of prescription charges, there still are a few groups that are qualified for free prescriptions. These requirements include:
- You are either under 16 or over 60
- You’re in between 16-18 and are in full-time education
- You’re pregnant, or have had a baby in the past 12 months- and have a medical exemption certificate
- If you have a listed medical condition and have a medical exemption certificate
- If you are a National Health Service inpatient
- If you are entitled to, or named on, a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate
- If you are a war pensioner - if treatment is connected with the pensionable disability
- If you receive Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit, you (and your family) maybe entitled to help with NHS health costs
- If you receive one of the following:
- Universal Credit
- Income support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
Prescription Payment Certificate (PPC)
Prescription Payment Certificate is a card you pay for and display it every time you need an NHS prescription. While it won’t save you much money if you take prescriptions from time to time only, it will help you if you regularly need them. Another good thing about PPC is that the prices are frozen, so the charge stays the same.
There are two PPC types: a three-month certificate, costing £29.10, and a twelve-month certificate, priced at £104. When you apply for a three-month certificate, you have to pay the full price right away, but if you decide on the twelve-month certificate, you can choose between one-off sum of £104 and 10 instalments of £10.40. Three-month certificates are best suitable for seasonal usage, like summer and winter, whilst twelve-month certificates are better for people who regularly need prescribed medication.
Ask for a bigger prescription
This is a good way to save money for people who find that they can’t save on PPC. Instead of taking prescriptions for a four-month amount of medications one at a time, try asking your doctor for a bigger prescription. Before doing so, think about whether you will use all of them until they expire because wasted medication means wasted money.
Over-the-counter vs. Prescription Medication
On many occasions, money can be saved simply by taking OTC medications, such as painkillers and dermatology creams. Often it is cheaper to buy these meds outright than to pay for a prescription from your doctor.
But, on the other side, if you, for example, use medication throughout the whole summer, such as allergy medication, it might be better to ask your doctor for a bigger prescription, instead of buying that whole amount one by one.
Another good method is to search for OTC medicines in supermarkets and places that usually have discounts.
Understanding the magic industries use to make you spend more money, is the key to saving money. Often, they will warn you to use proven and trusted brands instead of those that are not that popular and known- and you should definitely always be careful when shopping for over-the-counter drugs. The fact is that big-name brands can be up to eight times more expensive than non-branded alternatives.
There are many brands that cost half, sometimes even a third of the price you would normally pay for the same pills, only under a different name. Another trick they use is to make two same-kind drugs, but name them different, and price them higher- like many drugs for period cramps.
When you decide to swap brands, look for active ingredients and compare them. If active ingredients are the same on both brands, that means that the drug will have the same effect on you as the other one did.
But, remember to look out for non-active ingredients as well, as there may be some you are allergic to, which can, aside from the reaction, cause anaphylactic shock.
Another thing to consider when trying to save on medication is to compare prices. The best thing about this is you can easily do it online, get trustworthy information, and save both your money and your time.
A good tool to use for this process is DigMedix.com .
Simply by typing in your desired medication and searching it, you will get a full page of product description, strength and duration information, fee info, and comparison of the prices from the most popular pharmacies. Divided into sections, you can easily search for product for men, women, sexual health and many more, and even get some ideas on what medication to look for as a solution to your problem.
The fact is that, no matter what medication you buy, whether prescribed or over-the-counter, you should always be careful with consumption. A non-popular brand can work for you just fine, but a prescribed one can, for example, cause an allergic reaction in you- or vice versa.
Invest your time and patience in finding the right sort and the right provider of your medicine. Read declarations and side-effects before buying your medication to prevent any possible health problems, or even wasting your money.