The Prescription Prepayment Certificate can make your medicines more affordable

nealpatel2by Neal Patel MRPharmS, RPS Head of Corporate Communications

Ever heard of the Prescription Prepayment Certificate?

If you live in England, need medicines on a long-term basis and pay prescription charges, it could help make your medicines more affordable.

The Prescription Prepayment Certificate is like a season ticket for your medicines. You can get your medicines at a discount by either paying a lump sum upfront or monthly by direct debit.

Prescriptions now cost £8.05 per item. If you need 4 or more items in three months, you can save money by buying a three-month certificate for £29.10.

Alternatively, you can buy a 12-month certificate for £104. This will work out cheaper if you need 14 or more items in a year and means you get your medicines for around £2 per week.

Here’s a quick ready-reckoner to help you see if a prepayment certificate would work for you:

Number of prescribed medicines you need each month Saving with a 12-month PPC Saving with a three-month PPC
2 Over £80 a year Over £15 in three months
3 Over £175 a year Over £40 in three months
4 Over £270 a year Over £65 in three months

You can buy a certificate online or by calling 0300 330 1341. You can also buy them direct from a small number of pharmacies. The certificate  looks like this:


Just take it with you next time you go and the pharmacist will ensure the discount is applied.

A recent survey of 4,000 people with long-term conditions from The Prescription Charges Coalition, a group of charities campaigning on prescription charges, showed that many people who could benefit from a Prescription Prepayment Certificate don’t have one.

Overall, 22% of those who didn’t have a certificate because they felt they wouldn’t save anything collected enough prescriptions to benefit from one.

Awareness of the certificate remains low. Whilst 37% of people found out about it from their pharmacist and 23% from their family and friends, only 14% did so from their GP and just 5% from the consultant who diagnosed their illness.

If you don’t qualify for a Prescription Prepayment Certificate there are still ways you can save money on your medicines. Take a look at our Top 5 Recession-Busting Tips for Prescription Medicines and go and see a pharmacist for advice.

You can also learn more about the wider issue of prescription charges by listening to the RPS podcast on the topic.