Around 400,000 women enter the menopause each year in the UK. Around three quarters of women will experience menopause symptoms, and around a quarter of women will experience severe symptoms. Symptoms can affect a person’s physical and mental health as well as their participation in the workplace and personal lives.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the main treatment for menopause symptoms. Around 15% of women aged 45-64 in England are currently prescribed HRT, this has increased rapidly in the last two years from around 11% and continues to increase.
To ensure that women can access the treatment they need, this Government made a commitment to reduce the cost of HRT prescriptions for menopausal women.
I am pleased to announce today that from 1 April 2023 women will be able to apply for a HRT prescription prepayment certificate (HRT PPC).
The HRT PPC will cost the equivalent of two single prescription charges, currently £18.70 and will be valid for 12 months. The HRT PPC can be used against a list of HRT prescription items, and a patient can use this against an unlimited number of HRT items during its validity.
The HRT PPC will offer savings to patients currently paying for their HRT medicines through individual charges, and for many patients the HRT PPC will also be more cost-effective than a three or 12-month PPC if they only require HRT medicines.
It is estimated that the HRT PPC will benefit approximately 400,000 patients who do not qualify for an existing prescription charge exemption.
Menopause is a priority area within the women’s health strategy for England. The strategy was published last summer and sets out an ambitious new agenda for improving the health and wellbeing of women and girls and improving how the health and care system listens to women. The introduction of the HRT PPC delivers one of our year one priorities for the women’s health strategy for England.
Reducing the cost of HRT medicines is just one part of our ongoing programme of work to improve support for menopause and access to HRT.
The Government have accepted the recommendations of the HRT taskforce, including encouraging and supporting manufacturers to boost supply to meet growing demand and continuing to issue serious shortages protocols when needed. The Department closely monitors the supply of HRT and regularly meets with individual suppliers, as well as hosting quarterly roundtables with industry to ensure a continuous supply of HRT.
The NHS England national menopause care improvement programme is improving clinical care for menopause and training for healthcare professionals, and we are also working across Government and with employers to improve workplace support, and boosting menopause research and evidence.