How to get free prescriptions as a student

If you've grown up with a medical condition, like diabetes or asthma, you (or your parents) will have been used to getting your medicines from the pharmacy free of charge. You might expect this to continue once you've started uni, but unfortunately there is no automatic entitlement to free prescriptions. At the time of writing the prescription charge is £8.40 per item, so a prescription for a blue inhaler and a brown inhaler, for example, would cost you £16.80.

With all the distractions of being at uni or college and living away from home, keeping on top of your medical condition can sometimes be challenging. It is essential that you continue to see a doctor and take your regular medication in order to stay healthy and enjoy student life to the full.

How can you avoid paying unexpected prescription charges?

The NHS gives prescription medicines for free to all children under 16 years of age and those aged 16, 17 or 18 and in full-time education. Once you turn 19 this automatic entitlement ends and you will need to make other arrangements to continue getting your medicines for free. The rules around prescription charges and exemptions are quite complicated, so if you're not sure ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Please note that prescriptions for hormonal contraceptives, including tablets , patches and implants, are always free. You should tick the relevant box on the back of the prescription.

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