Prescription costs and exemptions

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Information & Advice


Prescription costs and exemptions

If you have a NHS prescription and would like to understand more about the costs, charges and exemptions that exist, read our simple guide below.

NHS prescription charges in England

In England, NHS prescriptions are charged per item. As of April 1 2014 each item costs £8.05.

Who is exempt from NHS prescription charges in England?

Some people are exempt from paying prescription charges. To qualify for free prescriptions you must be:

  • Under 16
  • 16 to 18 and in full-time education
  • 60 or over
  • Pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months and hold a valid maternity exemption certificate (MatEx)
  • Have a specified medical condition and hold a valid medical exemption certificate (MedEx)
  • Have a continuing physical disability which means you cannot go out without help from another person and hold a valid medical exemption certificate
  • Hold a valid war pension exemption certificate and the prescription is for your accepted disability
  • An NHS inpatient

You will also be exempt from prescription charges if you or your partner (including civil partners) are named on, or are entitled to an NHS tax credit exemption certificate or a valid HG2 certificate (full help with health costs), or you receive either:

  • Income support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit

There are also some situations in which medicines are supplied free:

  • Prescribed contraceptive
  • Medication administered at a hospital or an NHS Walk-in Centre
  • Medication personally administered by a GP
  • Medication supplied at a hospital or PCT clinic for the treatment of a sexually transmitted infection or tuberculosis (TB)

Your Local Boots pharmacy team will be happy to tell you about exemptions.

Prescription charges in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

NHS prescription charges have been abolished in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. All prescriptions dispensed in Northern Ireland are free, even for patients visiting from England, Wales or Scotland.

You are entitled to free prescriptions in Wales if you are:

  • A patient registered with a Welsh GP and you receive your prescription from a Welsh pharmacy
  • A Welsh patient who has an English GP and an entitlement card and you receive your prescriptions from a Welsh pharmacy

You are entitled to free prescriptions in Scotland if you are:

  • A patient registered with a Scottish GP and you receive your prescription from a Scottish pharmacy
  • A Scottish patient who has an English GP and an entitlement card and you receive your prescriptions from a Scottish pharmacy

Please note that our online pharmacy service is based in England, so if you choose the postal delivery option the English prices and rules apply, even if you live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Online pharmacy prescriptions

Please note that our online pharmacy service is based in England, so if you choose the postal delivery option the English prices and rules apply, even if you live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Pre-payment certificates (PPCs)

If you have ongoing repeat NHS prescriptions but are not entitled to free prescriptions, a Pre-Payment Certificate (PPC) may save you money. This is especially true if you have to pay for four or more prescription items in three months or more than 14 items in 12 months.

PPCs in England

A three-month PPC costs £29.10 and a 12-month PPC costs £104.00.
You can purchase a PPC:

We can help you manage your repeat prescriptions easily and conveniently. Find out more about the Boots Repeat Prescription service *

*Collect your medicines during opening hours only, participating surgeries only

Veterinary prescriptions

Veterinary prescriptions can differ in price from those prescriptions we get for ourselves. To get a quote for your prescription for your pet, please call Boots Online Pharmacy on 01922 649709 and they will talk you through the service and support we can provide.

For more information on prescriptions and the Boots prescriptions services, read our frequently asked questions and answers.