A mum of three from cheshire was on five prescription items last year. She spent a total of £483 on her medication last year and struggled financially. She visited her local pharmacist who advised her to invest in a prepayment certificate.
She now only pays £104 annually to cover all her prescription costs and will save over£300 each year.
TIPS on how to save money at your local pharmacy
1)Invest in a Prepayment Certificate
The prescription charge rises each year in the UK and is currently £8.20 per item. This is quite expensive when you are taking several medications
If you take more than one prescription item a month, then speak to your local pharmacist about getting a prepayment certificate. You could make potential savings by paying for your medications in advance
You can either invest in a three month certificate at £29.10 or a full year at £104. Once you have these certificates, you can use them to claim for all prescription costs within that period.
2)Check if a medication is cheaper on prescription or over the counter
You can save yourself a lot of money by always checking with your pharmacist first whether a medication is cheaper to buy over the counter or on a prescription. For example; Glucosamine sulphate costs £8.20 on a prescription but only £1.99 over the counter.
3)Shop around with private prescriptions
If you have a private prescription, shop around different pharmacies first before deciding where to get it dispensed. Although NHS prescriptions have a fixed price of £8.20, private prescription prices vary and are set by the individual pharmacies. For example; Lloyds pharmacy sells Malarone (16 tabs)(anti malaria) tablets for around£58 while Superdrug pharmacy sells same drug for approximately £37.
4)Always compare brands against generics
All branded medicines have the same active ingredient as generic versions of the same drug. Studies show that there is very little or no difference in efficacy. However, there is sometimes a massive difference in cost. By buying a generic version of a branded drug, you can maximise savings and simultaneously benefit by gaining the same effect. For example; Piriteze (30 tabs) cost roughly £8.99 in Boots pharmacy but the generic version ‘Hayfever and Allergy Relief’ (cetirizine) 30s cost £2 at Asda pharmacy saving you about £6.99 instantly.
5)Emergency Hormonal Service (Contraception)
The ‘morning after pill’ (emergency contraception) is quite pricey and costs within the range of £25-£30. However, if you meet the criteria, you can get it free from certain pharmacies which are commissioned to provide the service. Always ask your local pharmacist first if the provide the service before purchasing the pill as you could potentially save yourself up to £30
6)The Minor Ailment Service
If you are exempt from paying prescription charges, then you can get certain drugs to treat certain minor ailments at your local pharmacy for free. Several pharmacies offer a minor ailment service and you can make huge savings by taking advantage of this service. For example; Hedrin Lotion (head lice treatment) 150ml bottle, cost about £11.84p over the counter but it free on the minor ailment service saving you money.
7)Stop Smoking Service
Do you smoke and want to quit smoking? You can save lots of money by visiting your local pharmacy. Many pharmacies offer a free stop smoking service. You could either get the stop smoking products for free or still at a cheaper price. For example; ( Nicorette QuickMist 1mg mouthspray, 150 sprays) cost approximately £18over the counter, but you can get it for free on a pharmacy stop smoking service or at a prescription fee of £8.20 which are significantly more cost effective.
8)Check if you fall under any of these prescription exemption categories
Certain groups of people (mentioned below) are exempt from paying NHS prescription charges. Always check whether you are exempt before paying for medication as this could save you money.
The following people are exempt from paying prescription charges;
- Age exempt (under 16years and above 60 years)
- Full time students aged (16,17 or 18)
- Patients with a valid maternity exemption certificate
- Patients with a valid medical exemption certificate
- Patients with a valid prepayment certificate
- Patients named on a HC2 charge certificate
- Patient/partner with a valid NHS tax exemption certificate
- Patients on income support , job seekers, ESA, pension or war certificate
There are still many different ways pharmacists can save you money. When next you visit your local pharmacy, remember to maximise these services and utilise these great opportunities to save you even more money.