End unfair prescription charges for Parkinson's

On Thursday 29 June the Prescription Charges Coalition, which is co-chaired by Parkinson's UK, launched a new report (PDF, 220KB) looking at the impact of prescription charges on working-age people living with long-term conditions in England.

Prescription charges unaffordable for many

The report reveals a concerning picture of people struggling to bear the costs of their medication, sacrificing their health or other essentials to get by.

A third of people currently paying for prescriptions had not collected medications due to the cost. Others reported skipping or reducing their doses to save money, leading to worsening health, time off work and emergency hospital admissions.

Matt's prescription story

Now that I have to pay for my drugs, it’s a lot more stressful - I order them piecemeal, prioritising the ones I need most urgently to spread out the cost.
Matt Eagles, who has Parkinson's

Matt Eagles, 48, from Cheshire, has had Parkinson's symptoms since age 7 and been on medication since age 9.

When his working tax credit exemption recently expired, he suddenly found himself having to pay for prescriptions.

"I've taken over 200,000 tablets in my lifetime - if I hadn't been exempt for most of it, that would have been a huge cost.

"Now that I have to pay for my drugs, it's a lot more stressful - I order them piecemeal, prioritising the ones I need most urgently to spread out the cost.

"I find myself counting the pennies even more than I used to, not going out as much and not buying as much food.

"The thing that's most galling though is the lack of recognition. Parkinson's is a chronic condition that I will have forever. How can the people responsible for dispensing medication not see that it should be exempt?"

How you can help

Next year the medical exemption list, which sets out the conditions that qualify for free prescriptions, will be 50 years old. In that time it has only been amended once.

Almost all long-term conditions that are prevalent today are not on the list - including Parkinson's. It's an unfair and outdated system.

In the run-up to the 50th anniversary of the medical exemption list, we need you to lobby your MP about exempting everyone with a long-term condition from prescription charges.

Download our Guide to Lobbying Your MP (PDF, 955KB) to join the fight. You can also sign up to the Prescription Charges Coalition mailing list for more ways to get involved.