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Prescriptions: Fees and Charges

Volume 485: debated on Monday 15 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to page 116 of the 2008 Pre-Budget Report, Cm 7484, whether his plans to provide free prescriptions for everyone with long-term conditions will be paid for from the planned £550 million savings in the cost of the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme. (241109)

We have asked the President of the Royal College of Physicians (Professor Ian Gilmore) to carry out a review of prescription charges that will consider how to implement the commitment to exempt patients with long-term conditions from prescription charges. The review will take into account the views of patients, the public, patient representative bodies, clinicians and health care organisations and is due to make its recommendations to departmental Ministers in summer 2009. Following this, the Government will decide how exemption from charging can best be phased in, including how the proposed changes can be funded. The expectation is that savings in the drugs budget achieved through the new Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme agreement will help fund the new exemption.