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Why is Lupus not exempt from NHS Prescription Charges

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  • Why is Lupus not exempt from NHS Prescription Charges

    Im just trawling the internet to try to find out where I can find a list of which illnesses are included or excluded in paying charges for prescription charges.

    Im also thinking about paying a one-off fee which should cover me for charges and anything above what I have paid up front for will not be charged.

    Very quickly I was staggered to find the following:

    emption policy

    [QUOTE]At present, some patients with chronic illness are exempt from patient charges if their condition is on a Department of Health list, originally drawn up in 1968, or if their income is below a certain level.

    Patients with chronic illness can also pay 89 up front to cover the costs of their prescriptions over a year. [/QUOTE]

    The 89.00 up front cover is Im sure out of date as the article was from 2002.
    Im not so sure about the 1968 original list!.

    I have a friend who has a thyroid problem and is exempt, even though it is an auto immune disease and a comfortable income.
    I have a friend who has m.s who is not exempt, even though hers is also an autoimmune disease.

    The lady with M.S is able to get a comfortable income from the government re benefits and never therefore has a lot of financial security and has recovered some of her ability.
    Somebody else I know who seems worse off than her in some ways gets nothing and is financially unsecure.

    Why do some auto immune diseases qualify and some do not re prescription charges.

    I wonder where one goes to ask these questions to enable some change in the system.


  • #2
    Hello Nicky

    A list of the illnesses exempt from prescription charges can be found on the link below, as well as all the other exempted groups. A 5 -year exemption for cancer patients is coming in from April 1 this year.

    The reasons for lupus not being included are that although lupus is chronic, its course is not predictable and because each person is differently affected. Also, exempt groups cover those permanent conditions from which people are likely to die if they don't get medications. By the way, some people with lupus suffer an exempt condition as a result of treatment for lupus: Diabetes for example or Hypoadrenalism when the adrenal glands can't pick up after Prednisone treatment. Some people with lupus will qualify on the basis of their income or the benefits they might be receiving.

    Where I live, people with cancer automatically get a disabled drivers permit. Some people with lupus or MS are so disabled they qualify too

    Attempts were made a few years back to get lupus included on the list of diseases covered by the Disabilities Discrimination Act when it was being revised. MS and at least one other condition was added to the list but the bid to get lupus included failed

    If I was under 60 I would certainly get an annual prepayment certificate. The eight meds I'm taking regularly would cost 360 pa.

    Last edited by Clare.T; 02-22-2009, 12:20 AM.


    • #3
      Just paid for it

      Hi claire,
      I've just renewed my NHS pre-paid card. It cost me 102 for the year. I shudder to think how much all my meds would be if I paid NHS prescription charges, so 102 is a bargain. Well worth having.


      • #4
        Great information, thanks Claire.

        Now a few things are qualified.

        I still think they system has holes in it though.



        • #5
 you know if you can get any payments refunded in retrospect?

          Ive spent a fortune.



          • #6
            Hi Nicky,

            I bought a PPC - Prepayment Certificate last April and it has saved me a fortune! In Scotland an annual certificate is only 48 but can be used anywhere in the UK. The prescription charge is also lower at 5 an item.

            I've chopped and changed so many meds in the last year that I hate to think what I would've spent. At the moment it would be between 40 and 50 a month without the certificate.

            Most pharmacists will complete the details for you and you just have to sign it. I know they are looking to phase out prescription charges altogether in Scotland but I'm not sure about the status with the rest of the UK.


            Pam xxx


            • #7
              and I think if you have a pre payment card you can pay monthly now rather than 4 months or a year at a time, perhaps someone can clarify that.


              • #8
                Originally posted by nicky00 View Post
                do you know if you can get any payments refunded in retrospect?

                Ive spent a fortune.

                Refunds can only be given if you got receipts for these prescriptions already issued!

                In the time until you receive your pre-payments card just tick the box on back of prescription that says you have one. Card is normally dated from time of request unless you requested otherwise!


                • #9
                  natural substance

                  Hi Nicky, I have thyroxine and was told that as my body is not producing something it should naturally I can have free prescriptions... likewise a diabetic would also... however if I had a disease that is not to do with the production of a normally occurring substance in the body ie. Asthma, epilepsy then I would not qualify.
                  I think that is all well and good but then I get all my prescriptions free whether it is thyroxine or any other medicine. I am relieved that they are free but have always considered it odd that I am exempt from everything... I am not complaining though :p
                  Not sure if this is still the criteria.



                  • #10

                    Hi , just a little info from someone working in a pharmacy, if you have not got a pre-payment certificate and are going to apply for one you need to ask for an FP57 receipt at the time of paying for your prescriptions, any cost you pay on that day can be refunded at the pharmacy up to three months from that date, as long as your pre-payment card starts from the date you paid the charges ,you can claim a refund by taking your pre-payment card when it arrives usually upto three weeks after applying for it, and the reciept form into your pharmacy who then will refund the monies already paid on the reciept form, dont forget to complete the back of the form for this to be valid. receipts can only be issued if you ask at the time of paying for prescriptions dont forget to ask.
                    Buying a pre payment cert there is a web site in the UK
                    here you will find details of paying by debit cards , cheque or direct debit and lots of other useful info about help with health costs. go ahead save money now .
                    Hope this helps Ellen xxxxx


                    • #11
                      You all rock! Thankyou

                      Now I have such brilliant advice Im on my way to saving a bit of money..
                      Everything helps



                      • #12
                        These are the diseases that qualify for exemptions,from the link below.

                        People who have certain medical conditions

                        Although there are many conditions requiring regular medication, only the following qualify for an exemption certificate:
                        • A permanent fistula requiring dressing.
                        • Forms of hypoadrenalism such as Addison's Disease.
                        • Diabetes insipidus and other forms of hypopituitarism.
                        • Diabetes mellitus except where treatment is by diet alone.
                        • Hypoparathyroidism.
                        • Myasthenia gravis.
                        • Myxoedema (underactive thyroid) or other conditions where supplemental thyroid hormone is necessary.
                        • Epilepsy requiring regular anti-epilepsy medication.
                        • If, because of a permanent disability, you cannot leave your home without help.
                        I once asked about getting eyes tested free and was told it wasn't, because the need for eye tests rose from a medication rather than the disease itself. And anyway it had been decided that the risk was so small official policy was not worth recommending eye tests. (Saves NHS money too ?)

                        The risk might be very very small but I would save to pay to have eyes tested once year.

                        Nicky, just to mention in passing, that I wrote to my MP about two issues that concerned me, one of which is political, another angle of the free prescription business, the disparity in prescription costs between the UK countries.

                        The other issue certainly could be relevant to people wanting to try new lupus therapies. I had seen what has happened to some of our members in other countries when they have to pay for a new medicine but then can't get treated in a public hospital and private hospitals don't have the facilities to adminster or supervise the treatment even if the patient can afford it.
                        It's always worth writing about what you feel strongly about.

                        Last edited by Clare.T; 02-22-2009, 11:22 AM.


                        • #13
                          I feel quite strongly about this too
                          The list seems peculiar to me.
                          If you take steroids for Addisons its free, but not if you take steroids for Lupus:shrug:
                          I feel those of us on anti-hypertensives should get them free since cardiovascular disease remains the UK's biggest killer.
                          Oh well.........I'll just keep buying the prepayment card.


                          • #14
                            I also have a PPC which saves me a fortune. I would be spending somewhere in the region of 400 per year on scripts as the prescription charge is now 7.10p. I think I might write to my MP to see what he can do to help our cause... If you don't try! Maybe if we all do it and make a bit of a nuisance of ourselves maybe they will take notice. Worth a go???



                            • #15
                              I am not sure since I am in the United States. I hope you the best with finding your answers for help with your charges. Clare it wonderful at helping people.