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Prescriptions: Fees and Charges

Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 23 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make it his policy to grant free prescriptions for (a) all people with long-term illnesses and (b) those with asthma; and if he will make a statement; (159895)

(2) for which long-term illnesses people are entitled to free prescriptions; and what criteria are used to determine to which illnesses the provision applies;

The medical conditions for which people are entitled to free prescriptions if they hold a valid medical exemption certificate are:

permanent fistula (including caecostomy, colostomy, laryngostomy, or ileostomy) which requires continuous surgical dressing or requires an appliance;

forms of hypoadrenalism (including Addison's disease) for which specific substitution therapy is essential;

diabetes insipidus or other forms of hypopituitarism;

diabetes mellitus (except where treatment of the diabetes is by diet alone);

hypoparathyroidism;

myasthenia gravis;

myxoedema (that is, hypothyroidism requiring thyroid hormone replacement);

epilepsy requiring continuous anti-convulsive therapy; and

continuing physical disability which prevents the patient from leaving their residence without the help of another person.

This list was introduced in 1968 after being agreed in discussion with the medical profession.

The Government will be inviting views later this autumn on options for changes to prescription charges that are cost neutral to the national health service.