People with Parkinson's in England who are under 60 have to pay for their prescriptions. We know prescription charges are a barrier to people with Parkinson's taking their medication as prescribed.
Unfair exemption list
The government's medical exemption list states who doesn't have to pay for their prescriptions. This includes groups like children, over 60s, pregnant women and people with some medical conditions. But not Parkinson's.
The list was created over 50 years ago, and is out of date. It is unacceptable that people with Parkinson's are not included.
Plans scrapped to increase the charge for those over 60
The UK government has confirmed that they won't align prescription charges with the State Pension Age.
This means that people over 60 will still get their prescription medicines for free.
The UK government consulted on the proposals in 2021 and over 117,000 responses were received. We strongly opposed the plans and led the campaign activity of the Prescription Charges Coalition.
The government has done no assessment of the consequences of prescription charges on people with long-term conditions. Yet, research we helped conduct (PDF, 230KB) earlier this year showed that many people with Parkinson's and other long-term conditions don't take their medication due to cost.
They often take time off work or end up in hospital. We believe this has a severe financial impact on the health service and dilutes the money that prescription charges raise.
Also, research we funded with Crohn's and Colitis UK (PDF, 1MB) shows that scrapping prescription charges for people with these 2 long-term conditions would save the NHS money.
We campaign on this issue as Chairs of the Prescription Charges Coalition, an alliance of over 50 organisations concerned about the detrimental impact that prescription charges are having on working age people with long-term conditions.
As leaders of the coalition we are calling for:
- the government to freeze the charge for 2024
- an independent review of the prescription charge exemption list urgently
- information to be given routinely to people with long-term conditions about prescription charge exemptions, the prepayment certificate and the NHS Low Income Scheme
- prescribers to stop reducing the duration of prescriptions as this prices people out of affording their vital medicines.
The Prescription Charges Coalition is campaigning for a review of the prescription charge exemption list so all people with long-term conditions, including Parkinson's, are exempt from prescription charges.
You can support our campaign by:
- Sharing your story if you've been unable to afford your medicines and want to tell us about it.
With your help, we can keep this issue high on the agenda and make the case for change.
Keep up to date
You can get more information about the coalition on the Prescription Charges Coalition website.
Survey reveals charges are a barrier to keeping people well
A survey of over 4,000 people with long-term conditions, including those with Parkinson’s, on prescription charges, has found the charge is a barrier to accessing medicine.
People with long-term conditions are not picking up all of their medicines or skipping some, as they can't afford them and this means their health is worse, they have to take time off work as a result and they're relying more on NHS services.