Prescription charges

We believe that people with Parkinson's should be exempt from prescription charges.

This policy statement has been developed with advice and guidance from people with Parkinson's, the people who love and care for them, health and social care professionals and other experts.

What do we mean by prescription charges?

"My drugs are my lifeline. Without them I would have no movement at all. So why should I have to pay?"

Person with Parkinson's

Some medicines you can only get by prescription, usually from your GP.

In England each prescribed item currently costs £8.60.

Prescription charges were abolished in Wales in 2007, in Northern Ireland in 2010 and in Scotland in 2011.

What we believe

We believe that all people with Parkinson's and other long-term conditions should be exempt from prescription charges wherever they live in the UK.

Why we believe this

Medication is extremely important in helping people with Parkinson's manage their symptoms and continue to lead independent lives.

"People with Parkinson's are often required to pay multiple prescription charges, due to the number of medications prescribed for the management of a wide range of symptoms.

We're particularly concerned about the additional financial hardship of these charges for younger people with Parkinson's. For example, the income rules on free prescriptions can mean those on incapacity benefits still have to pay for prescription charges.

If people can't afford their prescribed medication their symptoms may get worse. And this may lead to a greater cost to health and social services.

What's the evidence?

We estimate that there are more than 7,000 people with Parkinson's under the age of 60 in England who are subject to paying prescription charges. We've used prevalence figures for people with Parkinson's to estimate this.

Our 2008 Life with Parkinson's today report showed that 24% of people with Parkinson's under the age of 60 don't use, or are unaware of, pre-payment certificates.

So there could be more than 1,700 people in England with Parkinson's paying substantially more than necessary because of low awareness of this scheme.

Full policy statement

Parkinson's UK policy statement: prescription charges (PDF, 308KB).