How To Get Prescription Medicines For Cheap (or Free!)

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cheap or free prescription medicineBuying prescription medicines can be expensive.

At £8.05 a pop, it can be an unwelcome and sometimes unaffordable expense to your weekly budget, especially if you require several items.

I know some medications can cost £100’s if not £1000’s, so an £8.20 prescription charge may seem reasonable –  but don’t forget the NHS is largely funded from your income tax and a proportion of your National Insurance, too.

If you are looking for ways to help stretch the finances,  here are a few ways you can save money with medication and prescription charges…

Boots & NHS Minor Ailments Service

If you don’t pay for prescriptions you may be able to receive advice and be given a medicine for a range of minor ailments, free of charge, on the NHS, without having to visit your doctor first.

Available at select Boots stores, a pharmacist is available to give you advice and help you may need to manage these and other common ailments.

Minor ailments could include coughs, colds, headaches, hay fever, insect bites and stings, eczema, earache and diarrhoea.

Unfortunately, the Boots website does not list which Boots branches offer the minor ailments service. Their Customer Care telephone team do not maintain a list either, although are very helpful in offering to call your local branches to find out.

Be sure to phone your local Boots store first to check if they offer this service before making a trip, or ask next time you are in store.

Do you know of a branch? Let me know in the comment section below and I’ll start a list! 

Here are a few examples of what the Boots Minor Ailments Service may be able to assist you with…

Boots minor ailments service

Pre-Payment Certificate

Between January and February, I required 8 (!!!) prescriptions. It wasn’t until I’d purchased the 5th + items that I discovered the NHS Pre-Payment Certificate.

  1. A three month PPC costs £29.10 and will save you money if you need four or more items in the three months
  2. A 12 month PPC costs £104.00 and will save you money if you need more than 13 items in a year

Some ‘over-the-counter’ medications such as paracetamol, hay fever remedies etc, are also available on prescription. Whilst many are cheap-as-chips already (hello 25p Ibuprofen!) some remedies can be very costly. Be sure to ask your doctor for these on prescription if you are purchasing a Pre-Payment Certificate or require these medications for an extended period.

*** Tip: remember to put in requests for any repeat medications BEFORE your certificate expires to get best value for money.

Claim refunds on prescriptions already bought

If you know that you are going to require several prescriptions but don’t yet have a NHS Pre-Payment Certificate, ask your pharmacist for a prescription receipt.

This is NOT the same as a regular till / credit card receipt, but is an ‘FP571008′ form they fill out at the time of payment. Keep your receipt(s), purchase your Pre-Payment Certificate over the phone and ask them to BACK DATE the certificate to the date you paid your prescription fee in order to claim a refund. (There is a time-limit in applying a refunds, so don’t miss out!)

Tesco Pharmacy Freebies!

From time-to-time, Tesco pharmacy offer FREE GOODIE BAGS when you make a purchase.

The contents vary, but often include great items such as cook books, vitamins, foodie samples and much more!

Next time you visit a Tesco pharmacy, be sure to ask about their goodie bags!


Happy savings to you!




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