Cost of living crisis - impact on access to prescription medicines
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has released the results of a survey showing that the cost of living is having an impact on whether people can afford prescription medicines in England.
One in two pharmacists who responded to the survey said they’ve seen an increase in the last six months of patients asking them which medicines on their prescription they can ‘do without’ due to affordability issues, and a similar number reported a rise in people not collecting their prescription. In addition, two out of three pharmacists reported an increase in being asked if there was a cheaper, over-the-counter substitute for the medicine they had been prescribed.
Chair of the RPS in England, Ms Thorrun Govind, said:
“We are deeply concerned that people are having to make choices about their health based on their ability to pay. 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. Prescription charges are an unfair tax on health which disadvantages working people on lower incomes who are already struggling with food and energy bills.”
RPS has long campaigned to remove prescription charges for people with long-term conditions in England, because of the financial barrier that can be created to patients receiving the medicines needed to keep them well. The prescription charge currently stands at £9.35 per item prescribed, with an increase in the charge usually occurring annually in April. By comparison, prescriptions are free for people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.