Pharmacy Voice has described the increase in prescription charges in England as regrettable.
From April 1st 2012, the cost of an NHS prescription in England will rise 25p to £7.65.
Ian Facer, Chairman of Pharmacy Voice and a pharmacist practising in the North West, said:
“We think the increase is regrettable; prescription charges deter many people from getting medicines which their doctor prescribes. Patients on low incomes who do not qualify for exemption suffer the most. I often see patients who make a decision of what medicine they can take based on their finances.
“We recognise that the abolition of prescription charges in England is not on the cards given the current economic climate, but this rise simply widens the disparity with other parts of the UK, where prescriptions are now free.
“With prescribed medicines representing the largest non-staff element of the NHS budget (approx £9 billion per year in primary care in England) it is vital to get value for money from this investment. When up to half of all medicines for long term conditions are not taken as intended by the prescriber, we believe much more value for patients and taxpayers can be extracted by supporting more effective medicines use. The New Medicine Service, which launched in pharmacies in England last year, and targeted Medicines Use Review services, will help people get more from their medicines. Investment in these sorts of services will give the NHS bigger wins than rises in prescription tax.”
Last year, Scotland joined Wales and Northern Ireland in removing the charge for medicines, leaving England the only part of the United Kingdom where patients have to pay for prescriptions.
The cost of a prescription payment certificate (PPC) valid for three months will remain at £29.10 and the price of an annual PPC will be held at £104.