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5 ways to save money on medicines, from new schemes to free prescriptions

How to cut the cost of over-the-counter medicines and prescriptions...

By Emilie Martin
save money on medicines from prepayment certificates to buying own brand
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There's a new scheme coming into force from 1 April that will provide HRT for the price of two prescriptions. This is just one of a number of ways you could cut the cost of your medicines bill.


New scheme for HRT users

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From 1 April 2023, if you have been prescribed HRT for menopause symptoms, you can access to a new scheme that will enable you to get a year’s worth of menopause prescription items for the cost of 2 single prescription charges (currently £18.70). The new prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) can be used against a list of HRT prescription items. You will need to apply at your local pharmacy. There will be no limit to how many times you can use the certificate during the year. Around 15% of women aged 45 to 64 in England are currently prescribed HRT.


Plan ahead

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You could be missing out on savings if you need at least one prescription a month, and pay for prescriptions. Get a 12 month season ticket to get any unlimited number of prescriptions.

The 3-month Payment Prescription Certificate (PPC) costs £30.25 and will save you money if you need more than 3 prescribed items in 3 months.The 12-month PPC costs £108.10 and will save you money if you need more than 11 prescribed items in a year. It's quickest to buy a PPC online.


Try own-brand

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Most of us know that retailers’ own-brand products cost a fraction of the price of branded ones, and it's no different with medicine. Tesco’s own-brand pack of 16 500mg paracetamol tablets costs 37p, for instance, while 16 500mg Panadol Advance will set you back £2.09. To compare medicines, look for the active ingredient listed on the packaging and the dose.

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Qualify for free prescriptions?

Free Prescription Drugs
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At £9.35 a pop, the cost of prescriptions in England can soon add up, especially if you take medication regularly. However, some conditions and medication can be prescribed free of charge. If you think you might be entitled to this service, or if you’re unsure, this NHS online tool will help you work it out.

(People in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland automatically get free prescriptions!).


Avoid targeted painkillers

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Targeted medicines, such as those labelled specifically for headaches or back pain, are just there to make you buy a certain brand. Instead of paying a high price, check the active ingredient and buy the generic medication, rather than the ailment-specific versions. Check the product licence number (eg, PL 10000/1000). If the number is the same, it’s the same active ingredient and formulation.

From: Good Housekeeping UK
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