The age of free prescription is currently under review and could be increased to statutory retirement age in the proposals currently under consideration. If action is taken, it could mean people aged 60 to 65 living in England are forced to face charges they would otherwise have avoided. The prospect of such a change is worrying for those worried about whether or not they can afford to buy items.
And there are fears that, in their attempts to save money, the British are actually putting themselves at risk.
Last year, a number of health charities urged the government to rethink its proposal to raise the age of eligibility for free prescriptions, in an open letter.
The Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the British Geriatrics Society have said that while some patients will find the switch affordable, others will not.
The letter highlighted the “shared concern” that removing free prescriptions for 60 to 65 year olds could worsen existing health problems.
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“While there is a legal and growing market for online pharmacies in the UK, there are also fraudulent websites posing as registered pharmacies.
“Using a drug from a fake online pharmacy is potentially very dangerous, as the drugs may be expired, diluted, unapproved or fake.
“If you find a prescription drug for sale online without a prescription, it’s illegal.”
Britons should always check the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) online pharmacy logo.
It has not yet been confirmed by how much NHS prescription charges will increase in April.
However, recent research by Chemist4U shows that prescriptions have increased by an average of 2.35% year over year.
If this trend continues, those paying for prescriptions can expect their costs to rise from £9.35 to £9.57 per item.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care previously told Express.co.uk: ‘Around 90% of community prescriptions in England are free, and people don’t pay if they are on low income, more 60 years old or have certain medical conditions.
“The upper age exemption has not changed since 1995 and that is why we consulted on re-linking this to the statutory retirement age.
“No final decision has been made and we will publish the consultation response in due course.”