A survey of more than 4,000 people with long-term conditions has found prescription charges are a barrier to accessing medicine.
The Prescription Charges Coalition conducted the survey between February and March. Prescription charges rose on 1 April.
Key findings from the survey include:
- Nearly 1 in 10 people have skipped medication in the past year due to the cost of prescriptions
- More than 1 in 10 people who pay for their NHS prescription have cut medication in half to make it last longer
- More than 3 in 10 had the duration of their prescription changed, meaning they had to pay more often
- Almost 4 in 10 people with long-term health conditions only learned about the prepayment certificate more than a year after their diagnosis.
Just under a third of those who had missed medication now have other physical health problems in addition to their original health condition.
More than half have had to take time off work as a result of worsening health.
The Coalition is calling for the UK Government to:
- Commit to freezing the prescription charge for 2024
- Recommend prescribers stop reducing the duration of prescriptions
- Conduct an independent review of the prescription charge exemption list urgently
- Scrap its plans to align prescription charges with the state pension age
- Make sure information about prescription charge entitlements is provided to everyone with long-term conditions when they are diagnosed.
Prescription Charges Coalition
The Prescription Charges Coalition brings together around 50 organisations and professional bodies.
It campaigns to scrap prescription charges in England for people with long-term conditions.
The coalition is currently chaired by PIF member Parkinson's UK.
Several PIF members are also part of the coalition including: Allergy UK, Anaphylaxis Campaign, Asthma and Lung UK, British Liver Trust, Children's Liver Disease Foundation, Crohn's and Colitis UK, Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Hypermobility Syndromes Association, Lupus UK, Migraine Trust, Motor Neurone Disease Association, MS Society, National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, Patients Association, Rethink Mental Illness, Scleroderma & Raynaud's UK (SRUK) and Stroke Association.