Lady taking medication

NHS Medical Exemption List turns 50


Sunday 10 June 2018 marks 50 years since the Medical Exemption List, an NHS list of conditions that means people with the listed conditions don't have to pay for prescriptions in England, was published.

With exception of the recent addition of cancer, the list has remained unchanged since its creation in 1968. The list is very short and does not include conditions that were undiscovered or not fully understood in 1968, nor does it include conditions for which treatments have since been developed.

Commenting on the anniversary, Matina Loizou, Senior Policy Adviser at Parkinson's UK and co-chair of the Prescription Charges Coalition, said:

"Medical progress has made huge strides in the last 50 years, but this list is stuck in the past.

"It is horribly unfair that people are forced to pay – some facing impossible choices over whether they should eat or pay for essential medications – for having a condition they certainly didn't ask for.

"Our recent research also shows it is a false economy for the NHS: the cost of additional GP appointments and hospital admissions as a result of people failing to take their medication as prescribed far outweighs the income made from people with long-term conditions being charged. So on top of being unfair, the system simply doesn’t work.

"People with long-term conditions have waited long enough – the time for change is now."


For more information please contact: 

Molly Horsburgh, Senior Media and PR Officer, Parkinson's UK:  

  • 0207 963 39271
  • Out of hours: 07961 460248 

About Parkinson's

Every hour, 2 people in the UK are told they have Parkinson's. 
It affects 145,000 people in the UK – which is around 1 in every 350 adults.

Parkinson's is a degenerative neurological condition, for which there currently is no cure. The main symptoms of the condition are tremor, slowness of movement and rigidity. 

Parkinson's UK is the UK's leading charity supporting those with the condition. Its mission is to find a cure and improve life for everyone affected by Parkinson's through cutting edge research, information, support and campaigning. 

For advice, information and support, visit or call our free, confidential helpline on 0808 800 0303.