prescription charges

The impact of Prescription Charges

29 Jul, 2017

Yesterday we attended our first meeting of the Prescription Charges Coalition at the headquarters of the Parkinson’s UK. The meeting was a real insight into how the charges for prescriptions in England is impacting on the lives of patients with Long Term Conditions.

The Cost of a Prescription

The society has been aware that there is a growing number of patients with Pernicious Anaemia who live in England being prescribed Hydroxocobalamin ampoules who pay for the script to be dispensed. These patients are then told to take the injections to the nurse at the health centre who will administer the vitamin that will keep the patient alive. The usual practice is for patients to simply turn up at the health centre where the nurse will have a supply of the injections which will be administered and there will be no cost incurred by the patient.

Why is there a trend in doctors prescribing the patient the injection? We can think of none other than offsetting the cost of the vitamin from the doctors’ practice and onto the patient. And let’s not forget that the cost of an ampoule of B12 is pennies, yet the cost of filling a prescription is £8.60.

The Exemption List

The Coalition wants to bring about a review of the medicines that are on an exempt list which means, or should mean, that patients with Long Term Health Conditions, like patients with Pernicious Anaemia, do not pay for their medicine that will keep them alive. This ‘Exemption List’ hasn’t been updated since 1968, that’ll be fifty years next year.

We, as a society, will want to ensure that if the list is updated then patients with Pernicious Anaemia will not have to pay even if they are issued with a prescription for their injections instead of just turning up and getting their treatment from the practice nurse.

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  1. Aileen Robinson

    As I need B12 to function daily let alone stay alive long term, I find it a disgrace that we are not given this mediciation not only for free but as often as needed.
    It is time this list was reviewed and updated

  2. MH

    I have my injections every 8 weeks due the severity of the condition at the moment I get the injections for free, however the gp practiced has mentioned that I may have to start paying due to cost. Being unable to work full time and not being eligible for any benefits I wouldn’t be able afford the injection. Yet drug addicts who chose that life style are entitled to methadone free of charge and full benefits !!!!

    • Wedgewood

      I think that’s outrageously injust ! I buy 100 ampoules of Hydroxocobalamin for 55 Euros (£49) so – 50 pence each . The NHS will be able to buy them even more cheaply . How can the surgery say that you will have to pay for your prescription because of cost ? Alright a few more pence for needle and syringe and 5 minutes of nurse’s time . I think we will have to march on Parliament . I will start preparing banners now !

    • Jobeth

      I only get my b12 injection for free because I have hypothyroidism. I couldn’t afford it otherwise. I get no benefits and rely on my husband. We don’t have much to spread out for costs. I struggle with my 3 monthly injections , I feel ill daily and the hypothyroidism is difficult to cope with. So I can’t work. These illnesses don’t qualify me for help. I’m hanging on but I’m so sad and ill. No help

  3. Peter Clarke

    I hav suffered with PA for a very long time and as yet only get 3 monthly injections
    Which is totaly insuficient but the doctors don’t listen.

  4. Christine Reeve

    I sincerely hope this list is updated to include PA but I am concerned that poor diagnosis will not help many whose condition has been misdiagnosed or who, like me, have been told I “No longer have PA as you are receiving B12 injections” Then as blood test indicated above range injections were stopped for almost 12 months until Neurology intervened.

  5. Linda Gatta

    I Receive Weekly B-12 Injections

  6. Nic

    Why are insulin patients
    Ok to get what they need ?
    This is madness and smacks of interference from giant corporations.
    Don’t let May take your NHS !
    Chronic suffering from those that need B12 is rife worldwide and states particularly so.
    We must educate the needs of B12 deficient as not many seem to understand the fact that there are many reasons outside of pernicious anaemia and diet .
    It affects everything in your body including DNA and the chronic pain and suffering can be avoided for pennies.

  7. Julie Newman

    I used to get my B12 injections free. I recently signed up for Pharmacy2U and they are now charging me £8.60 for one ampule….Why?

  8. MrsGPM

    Well this is interesting. At the start of the year I was told I had PA and had to have a B12 injection and was fully expecting a course but turned up to be given one injection by the nurse. Sadly I now have PA again and was told I need another injection and made an appointment (one month wait to see the HCA – it was 2 months for nurse). Today my husband went to get my script for something else from the chemist to find a 5 ampule course of Hydroxocobalamin waiting to be collected. I had no idea I had to buy them or that I was having a course. I rang the surgery to be told that this is because I am to keep them “in case they go missing in the building”. I asked if the true reason was not a case of passing the cost onto me in effect making it a private prescription for something I have had within the last twelve months as a surgery treatment? Silence. This is a simply not on, especially given I was just expecting the same procedure as last time.

  9. Dec

    Just got my latest prescription..Only one injection for £9…its sickening…Was previously getting five

  10. John Cartledge

    My surgery has just gone down the prescription route having been free for the last 10 years. However, the prescription was for 1 ampoule only, which is an absolute disgrace. I don’t have a problem with paying for the prescription, as I have done this in the past with previous practices. However it was always for a box of five. Will be taking this up with the practice manager.

  11. Amanda

    I have 3 monthly injections and was given a prescription yesterday for 5 ampules for £9.90.
    On getting home the expiry date is May next year (2020) which means I will only be able to use 3 out of the 5.
    I don’t take it out of choice. Do you think I can have £4 back for the two I can’t use? No!

    • Debra Dixon

      Apart from the poor length of expiry why were you charged £9.90 when the current prescription price is £9.00?

  12. Sharon Williams

    I have heard that you can obtain b12 now at some beauty shops , has anyone tried this route if so how was it and was it a good service … your thoughts pls as I find the whole process of getting an appt at the doctors a trauma .

  13. Michelle Cheatley

    When patients are entitled to Levothyroxine for under active thyroid because they will die without this, also it puts them into the Free Prescription category, why can’t pernicious anemia patients receive the same equal rights ? There are many problems being diagnosed in the first place with both these conditions for various reasons. Blood tests being just one of them.

  14. Di Rawson

    why is there so much inconsistency. My daughter has B12 injections 3 monthly which isn’t enough and really ought to have them at least every 8-10 weeks, the last couple of weeks before her injection are horrendous for her but no one listens. A friend of ours is prescribed them every 10 weeks. My daughter currently pays for a prescription for 5 ampules and these are kept at the doctors surgery in their fridge (we have been in the past to find they have been used for other people). I will be furious if she is now to be charged the prescription fee per ampule but still to be told 3 monthly only

  15. Mary

    I have B12 injections once every 12 weeks as I have chohn’s disease. Just picked up my prescription today which I paid over £9 for got home and 2 of the injections will have expired before I use them so will have to be thrown in the bin I am really annoyed about this. They are already making money on us as the injections are so cheap but it’s a kick in the teeth when you have to throw them away!!!😡

  16. KS

    I always had to pay for the injections. I get my injection every 3 months. Usually I got a box of 5 as I’m paying for my prescriptions and so far I was lucky. However, last time the last ampule expired one month before the injection was due. However, getting 4 injections for £9.30 is better than just having 1. So I got another prescription for 5. I went to my local pharmacy to pick them up and the pharmacy said they give me 2 because the ampules would expire before I would finish all 5. The pharmacy said they give me a slip to say that I have already paid and I should come in and collect the others when they are due. I went to my pharmacy yesterday and got told they can’t find it on their system. They said the prescription expired because it’s over 6 months. So they would give me 1 for now but I need a new prescription. I’m furious. I was due to receive another 3 and I only got 1. It sounded too good to be true at first and actually would be a very good system. Unfortunately there are always people trying to get rich on the expense of others. The irony is there are so many of us who need Hydroxocobalamin but because it’s a prescription drug I’m not sure whether it would be legal for us to get organised amongst ourselves. Wouldn’t it be good if we could exchange the ampules which expire before we would use them with somebody else? If I get a prescription for 5 but 2 would expire. I could pass these 2 onto another person and that person probably needed a new prescription anyway so that person would go and get a new prescription and send 2 ampules back to me. Then I need a new prescription after I used these 2 it probably would overlap again and we could continue exchanging the ampules between us before they expire.


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