Save money on your prescriptions

Many skin disease patients find that they are given multiple items on their prescriptions for their
treatment. The cost can soon mount up. One chronic skin disease patient found that she was paying
more than £200 per month for her prescription. This was more than she spent on food. However,
there is a way in which you can cut the cost of your prescriptions.

Prescription prepayment certificates (PPC) are available in England and they can save you money.
The current prescription charge is £8.05 per item. A three-month PPC is £29.10. This saves you
money if you need four or more items in three months. If you are resident in Scotland, Wales or
Northern Ireland you are usually entitled to free NHS prescriptions.

There are two PPC options to choose:

  1. A three month PPC costs £29.10 and will save you money if you need four or more items in the three months
  2. A 12 month PPC costs £104 and will save you money if you need more than 13 items in a year

Each of these two options can save you a lot of money. For example, if your treatment requires two items a month, you can save about £90 with a 12 month PPC. From there the savings quickly grow the more items per month you need. So, if you need three items you save about £180 with a 12 month PPC. Moreover, if you need four items per month you would save around £280 with a 12 month PPC.
David Haigh, RGN, BSc, Dermatology Nurse Advisor and member of the SKIN DEEP Behind the Mask
clinical Advisory Panel says:

“In my clinical experience one of the most common reasons why topical therapy doesn't work is that it isn't applied. This is due in many instances that people simply can't afford to pay for the treatment. Often prescriptions are written with 3,4,5 or even 6 items and that is a lot of money to find, especially as these prescriptions may need to be filled every two weeks or so. A Pre Payment Certificate offers some help in lightening the financial burden of a chronic skin condition."

What is covered by PPC

A PPC covers you for all of your own NHS prescriptions, including dental prescriptions, no matter how many items you need. However, this does not include other health costs, for example, the provision of wigs and fabric supports which are only provided through the hospital service.

How to buy a PPC

The first step is to check if you are eligible. You can do that by clicking here. (this will open a new window)

If you are eligible, the quickest way is to buy your PPC online.  (this will open a new window) The process is quite straightforward and you pay using either your credit or debit card. If you do have any problems, there is a 0300 number to call. This will cost the same as a national rate. Alternatively, you can send an email to the address provided.

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
NE99 2DE

This form is also available at your GP surgery or pharmacy. Postal applications take at least three working days to process from day of receipt.

You can also buy a PPC from registered pharmacies. See the list of registered pharmacies. (this will open a new window)

By Kofi Dwinfour



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The prevalence of skin disease exceeds that of obesity, hypertension, or cancer. Despite skin being the largest organ of the human body, dermatological research remains one of the most under funded areas of medicine. In a world where society has an increasing preoccupation with image and it’s importance to every aspect of a person’s life, sufferers of skin diseases are feeling and being more marginalised and isolated than ever.

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