The cost of an NHS prescription in England is in for a raise, and slated to go up by 15p, much below the inflation rate, with effect from April, 2006. The cost of a prescription now will be £6.65, and this increase will give the NHS nearly £430m extra in revenue.
The charge for a prescription prepayment certificate will also be up by 75p - to £34.65 for a period of four months, and by £2.10 to £95.30 for 12 months.
Health Minister Jane Kennedy, explaining the cost revision, said "For the eighth consecutive year we have held the increase to below or around the level of inflation.
This is a modest increase, which will help maintain the contribution that charges make towards the cost of the NHS."
According to Ms Kennedy, nearly 87% of prescription items are given free because of the exemption system in practice. And nearly 50% of the population is eligible for free NHS prescriptions. Also, prescription prepayment certificates are a means of cost saving, as those interested can procure all the prescriptions required for £2 per week.
John D'Arcy, of the National Pharmacy Association, who is in favor of the system being abolished, said "The system is not only complex, but also riddled with inequities. The Association believes that prescription charges deter many people from getting their prescriptions filled, while many ask their pharmacist for guidance on which medicines they need most when it contains several items."