There will be no increase to the NHS prescription charge this year, the Government has confirmed.
In response to a recent written parliamentary question, health minister Edward Argar said that there was ‘currently no planned announcement on any future increase’.
Responding to a question from Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury Emily Thornberry, Mr Agar said that ‘prescription charges will not be uplifted on 1 April 2022’.
He added: ‘There is currently no planned announcement on any future increase. Decisions on increases take account of a range of evidence including the Gross Domestic Product deflator.’
A Government spokesperson confirmed to Pulse’s sister title The Pharmacist that unlike in previous years, the prescription charge will remain at the level set last April – £9.35 per prescription item.
It comes as the Government is consulting on raising the minimum age for free prescriptions in England, to help the NHS claw back the money it lost from the pandemic.
As it stands, people over the age of 60 can avoid prescription charges. The blanket exemption also applies to people under 16 and people aged 16 to 18 in full-time education.
But under the plans being consulted, the age eligibility for free prescriptions would be raised from 60 to 66 to be in line with the state pension age.
Meanwhile, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) launched a consultation in February on whether hormone replacement therapy (HRT) should be made available for patients over the counter for the first time.
A version of this story was first published by Pulse’s sister title The Pharmacist