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Prescriptions: Over-60s

Volume 488: debated on Monday 23 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the cost of providing free prescriptions to those aged over 60. (257655)

The cost of dispensing free prescriptions to those aged 60 and over in England in the community is estimated at between £300 and £350 million for the year 2008-09, where cost is assumed to be prescription charge revenue.

This estimate is based on Office for National Statistics mid-year population estimates and on an assumption that approximately 70 per cent. of those aged 60 or over would be exempt via another route due to, for example, being a recipient of a qualifying mean-tested benefit or having a medical exemption certificate. The cost is calculated by estimating that 50 per cent. of those having to pay would purchase a prepayment certificate and the balance would pay a charge per item.