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Prescription Charges

House of Lords written question – answered on 13th November 2003.

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Photo of Lord Turnberg Lord Turnberg Labour

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What was the income from National Health Service prescription charges for each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002; and what costs were incurred by the National Health Service in recovering these charges.

Photo of Lord Warner Lord Warner Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health)

The available information is given in the table.

Year Income from Charges (England) (£ millions)
2000–01 389
2001–02 408
2002–03 423

More than 85 per cent of total charge income is collected by community pharmacists and dispensing doctors as part of the dispensing of medicines. There is no separately identifiable element of their remuneration attributable to the charge collection function. The sale of prepayment certificates, which accounts for the remainder of the income, was the responsibility of health authorities until October 2002, and the cost was not identifiable separately. The function is now centralised at the Prescription Pricing Authority, and the estimated annual cost is around £1.5 million.

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