Over A Million People Overpaid On NHS Prescriptions Because They Didn’t Buy A ‘Season Ticket’, MSE Reveals


More than one million people in England missed out on savings of around £40 a year in the 12 months to April 2022 because they had not bought a prescriptions ‘season ticket’, figures obtained by MoneySavingExpert.com (MSE) show.

Data from the NHS Business Services Authority, which manages NHS finances, reveals that 1,064,992 people paid for at least 12 prescriptions individually in the 2021/2022 financial year – following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the UK’s biggest consumer website. It also reveals that of those people who purchased 12 or more prescriptions, an average 16 items were bought, at a cost of £149.60.

Yet by paying £9.35 for each prescription, rather than a single payment of £108.10 for 12 months’ worth of unlimited prescriptions – officially known as a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) – individuals end up overpaying by roughly £40 a year, or around £43 million in total.

The last financial year is the fourth year in a row that the number of patients losing out has reached over one million.

Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: “England is the only one of the four UK nations that charges for prescriptions, and so it’s frustrating to hear that many people are still paying more than they need to – especially at a time when every penny counts towards bills.

“We need to spread the word to anyone who regularly gets prescriptions – including some with chronic illnesses – to check out prescription prepayment certificates. My simple rule of thumb is if you get more than one prescription a month, on average these ‘season tickets’ are the cheapest option as they cap what you need to pay. For a one-off payment, you get unlimited prescriptions for either three months or a year.

“So someone getting, say, two prescriptions a month would save over £100 a year. If you think that’s you, check it out now in case we see another price hike at the beginning of spring.”


Prescription and PPC prices tend to rise each April. However, for the 2022/23 financial year, prices have been frozen at £9.35 a prescription, £108.10 for an annual season ticket (though it can be paid for by direct debit in 10 instalments of £10.81 each), and £30.25 for a three-month certificate (this cannot be paid for in instalments).

This means a 12-month PPC provides a saving of at least £4.10 a year if at least 12 prescriptions are bought. Alternatively, a three-month season ticket can save at least £7.15 with four or more prescriptions purchased. However, the more prescriptions needed, the more can be saved with a season ticket. Those paying for the average 16 prescriptions can save £41.50 with a 12-month season ticket, for example.

For those who need multiple prescriptions and don’t already have a PPC, it’s worth getting one now, as it’s not yet known if prescription and season ticket prices will rise for the 2023/24 financial year.


Before buying a prescription ‘season ticket’, check first if paying for one is necessary. The NHS has an eligibility checker tool online.


A season ticket can be bought online, over the phone on 0300 330 1341, or at many pharmacies. It can be paid for by card or by direct debit. If prescriptions have been paid for while waiting for the season ticket to arrive, an NHS FP57 refund form from the pharmacy or dispensary can be used to get the money back.

In the 2021/22 financial year, MSE’s FOI request revealed 2,596,110 PPCs were purchased in total, including annual and three-month versions.

See MSE’s Cheap and free prescriptions guide to find out how to make more health-related savings. Medication such as painkillers or dermatology creams are also available over the counter, and it’s often cheaper to buy them that way rather than by prescription.

You May Also Like

Newly Opened David Oluwale Bridge Links City’s Past, Present And Future
She LIKES Flowers
LOVES Our Jewellery!


Must Read

No results found.