From today, millions of Brit will pay more for their prescriptions as new rates come into force across England.
It’s thought that the cost of a single prescription will reach £10.15 by 2025 prompting calls for a review into free medication.
The cost of NHS over-the-counter medication will rise from £9.15 to £9.35 today.
The Prescription Charges Coalition called the increase as a "tax on health" and warned that some patients may be forced to choose between essentials like food and their medicine.
It asked ministers to conduct an “urgent” review into “unfair” costs and look at the list of patients who can get free prescriptions.
The Coalition, a group of 20 organisations campaigning to abolish prescription charges for people with long-term conditions, raised concerns that many people with long-term health problems are not collecting their prescriptions due to the cost.
This may lead to them eventually requiring more expensive NHS care.
On top of the rise in cost of a single prescription, pre-payment certificates will also jump up.
The certificates allow people to get as many prescriptions as they need for a set price – in 2020 this was £105.90 and will go up to £108.10 this year.
The Coalition asked the Government to “urgently” review the prescription charge exemption list which allows some people free prescriptions.
Aside from the addition of cancer in 2009, the Coalition claims the list has not been updated since 1968.
Prescription Charges Coalition chairwoman, Laura Cockram, who is also head of policy and campaigns at the charity Parkinson's UK, told the PA news agency: "The prescription charge rise means that it's an extra cost for people to stay well.
"What it means for people with long term conditions is that sometimes people will choose between picking up their vital medication that will keep them well or actually eating."
She added: "We are very worried at the Prescription Charges Coalition that people with long term conditions are being put off of getting their medication.
"We did some research a couple of years ago and found a third of people who responded to our survey said they were not picking up their medication.
"And subsequently that meant they actually needed to seek more medical help, whether that was contacting their GP or maybe in some extraordinary cases actually go to a hospital.
"We think he could have an impact on people with long-term conditions, going into hospital maybe, and putting increased pressure on the NHS, just when the NHS doesn't really need it."
Ms Cockram continued: "The charge has gone up about 20p every year for the last couple of years.
"It's not just the individual prescription items that have gone up, but also the prepayment certificate has gone up as well.
"So it is meaning that it's almost like a tax on the health or an additional cost, just to stay healthy.
"What we could potentially be looking at in 2025, is it costing over £10 per item for prescriptions and potentially if we were to see the same rises over the next 10 years it would an eye-watering £11.35 per item in terms of a prescription."
On the call for the Government to review the exemption list, Ms Cockram added: "We're calling for an urgent review of the list, HIV wasn't even around when the exemption list was created, people with cystic fibrosis were not expected to live to be adults when it was created.
"It is over 50 years old, and also massively unfair for people who live in England who faced the charge (when) people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, get their prescriptions for free."
Economic modelling has suggested that the NHS could save millions by scrapping prescription costs for people with long-term conditions.
Like what you see? Then fill your boots…
Want to bring a little glamour to your life every day with all the most exciting real-life stories, fashion and even sex tips HOT off the press?
Well, we've got you covered with our great new Hot Topics newsletter – it'll drop straight into your inbox around 7pm and you can unsubscribe whenever you like.
And signing up now means you'll get a front row seat for our great new series inside the lives of the next generation of Daily Star Page 3 girls.
You can sign up here – you won't regret it…
Research by the York Health Economics Consortium at the University of York in 2018 found that if the charge was abolished for just two long-term conditions, the NHS could save more than £20 million a year.
It is believed that around one in three people with a long-term condition who pay for their prescriptions has not picked up their medication due to cost.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "Nearly 90% of NHS prescription items are free in England and exemptions are in place for children, pregnant women, and those over 60, on a low-income or with medical conditions like cancer, epilepsy and diabetes.
"Additional support through the NHS Low Income Scheme is available for those not covered by exemptions, and all patients can buy pre-payment certificates to cover all the prescription items they need for just over £2 per week."
Source: Read Full Article