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20 Medicine Savings

Slash the cost of prescriptions & medicine
Save on medicine prescriptions

Pricey pills and health treatments can leave your wallet feeling woozy. It's time for a MoneySaving medical to cut the price of your prescriptions and medicines.

Pricey pills and health treatments can leave your wallet feeling woozy. It's time for a MoneySaving medical to cut the price of your prescriptions and medicines.

Prescriptions are free, except in England

While prescriptions are free in the rest of the UK, most people in England pay, with cost at £8.05 a time.

... But a few in England do qualify for free prescriptions

Sadly if you're in England, nipping across the border to one of the neighbours won't help - but some still qualify for free prescriptions.

Is an NHS prescription ‘season ticket’ worth it?

While free in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, for those in England who pay for prescriptions it's £8.05 a time. So if you need them regularly, consider a season ticket - or prepay certificate to give it its official name.

Claim the past month's charges backdated

Certificates usually start on the day applications are received. However, you can request it's backdated up to one month earlier, a decent saving if you've just shelled out for a bulk of prescriptions.

Prescriptions aren't always cheapest

If you're prescribed common medication such as painkillers or dermatology creams that are also available over the counter, often it's cheaper to buy them that way rather than spend £8.05 on a prescription.

Cheap private prescriptions explained

While NHS prescription prices are fixed, pharmacies can set their own for private prescriptions. These are given when you want a drug not covered by the NHS in your region, such as Malarone to prevent malaria if you’re travelling and some cancer drugs.

Ask your GP for a bigger prescription

Doctors often automatically write out prescriptions for small amounts. If you know you'll be coming back for more and the medicine's not dangerous if overused, ask for a multiple prescription. But be aware that some doctors are only allowed to prescribe enough medicine to last a certain amount of time.

Online pharmacies are cheap, but are they safe?

When buying online, ensure it's an above-board UK pharmacy, not an illegal site based in some far-flung corner of the world. Follow this checklist before buying.

Save over 80% on medicines

Drug companies spend millions promoting ‘only-use-the-name-you-know' messages, but it’s marketing baloney.

Cheap tablets taste bad? Try a glass of OJ

While there's no medical difference between branded and generic medicines, the packaging and the design usually differ, with nicer-coloured tablets and better-tasting coatings on premium brands.

Don’t sneeze at hayfever savings

Where generic medicine really kicks butt is hayfever and allergy tablets. Price wars among online pharmacies sometimes see it drop as low as £5 for three months’ worth of the same active ingredient as Zirtec, which can cost £3.30 for a week.

Check out supermarkets for medicine

The biggest saving is in switching to generic from branded medicines, regardless of where you shop. However, to grab even bigger price cuts, try your supermarket.

Over 60? Join Boots' club

The 'More Treats For Over 60s' club gives members 10 Advantage Card points for every £1 spent in-store on Boots' own brand products. It's free and open to anyone aged 60 or over and a UK resident. Members also get 15% off hearing aids and glasses. See the Boots site for more info.

Get free eye tests

Free eye tests

You’ve a legal right to take your prescription elsewhere after an eye test, so check the masses of online discount suppliers for glasses at a fraction of the cost. High street opticians often offer free tests for a limited time. See the Free Eye Tests deals note.

Knock £100s off contact lenses costs

Free eye tests

Tesco offers free eye tests at all its in-store opticians nationwide. You’d typically pay around £20 elsewhere, unless you’re in Scotland where it’s free.

Free NHS quit smoking kit

Smoking's as bad for your wealth as it is for your health. There are a raft of subsidised or free ways to help you quit, such as a free Quit Kit from NHS Smokefree. More tips in the Stop Smoking guide.

Cheap beauty deals

You can't get mascara on the NHS, but you can often get it free. For an updated list of beauty deals, discounts and heaps of magazine freebies, see the Cheap Beauty Deals note.

Check if your free EHIC card's valid


EHIC cards give you access to EU state-run hospitals and GPs like a local - if they pay nowt, nor do you.

Free Mental Health & Debt booklet

Mental health issues can cause severe debt, and severe debt's a catalyst for mental health problems. So we launched our 44-page Mental Health & Debt Help PDF booklet (thanks to charities Mind, Rethink, CAPUK & others for help).

Free diabetes test

Diabetes occurs because the body can't use glucose properly, either because of a lack of the hormone insulin or because the insulin available doesn't work effectively. If left untreated, this can lead to serious health problems, like high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney failure and nerve damage.