We all need medication at some point in our lives…
But how do you save money on medication?
First off, let me tell you some facts about the NHS and why it is easier for us to visit a pharmacy rather than heading straight to the GP surgery, walk in centre or hospital.
- Calling an ambulance will cost £247 – Ambulance requests have included patients who could not afford a taxi to hospital, had an eyelash in their eye or needed help with an injured animal. This cost the NHS £488,000 in 2013 for unneeded ambulance requests.
- Going to A&E costs £114 – A lot of A&E patients could have called 111 and they would have been informed where was best for them to go, A&E, walk in centre, GP or pharmacy.
- Seeing your GP costs £45 a visit. Could you visit a pharmacy and have a consultation with the pharmacist instead?
These are eye opening figures, so try and treat your ailment yourself if it isn’t too serious. I have come up with some money saving tips to make purchasing your own medication cheaper and easier for you…
It is risky buying medication online from an unknown website as it could be fake and the ingredients have been known to include rat poison, anti freeze, brick dust, paint thinner and so much more!
You can buy online and save money but always stick with well known or registered pharmacies. The following online retailers are safe to shop with…
You can buy a prepayment certificate if you are in England. They are valid for either 3 month or 12 month.
- A single prescription will cost you £8.40 from 1st April
- A 3 month prepayment certificate will cost you £29.10. You can get unlimited numbers of prescriptions on this card. If you get 2 items a month, you could save over £20 in the 3 month period.
- A 12 month prepayment certificate will cost you £104.00. You can get unlimited numbers of prescriptions on this too. If you get 2 items a month, you could be saving over £90 a year
These can be paid monthly on direct debit.
I have purchased a 12 month certificate for around 3 year now as I have a few health problems and I was spending around £20 a week on medication, so it is well worth doing if you are on regular medication.
If you only get one item every so often then this option is probably not for you.
Buy generic medication
Instead of buying brands, why not buy non branded, generic versions of the medication instead?
Take Calpol for example. You can pay up to £5.99 for a 200ml bottle of Calpol but you can get an unbranded version much cheaper than that, even poundland stock them! It is the same ingredients and they work just the same way, you are just paying for the brand name with Calpol.
This works in the same way for Nurofen and ibuprofen. The only difference being, Nurofen comes with a name and a higher price tag.
When you visit a GP, 9 times out of 10, they will give you a prescription for the generic version of the medication rather than the branded product.
Look out for medication ‘cheats’
When you have 2 medications that say they are used for different things, one is more expensive than the other, yet they are both exactly the same!
Take for example, Sudafed.
Sudafed blocked nose spray (comes in a blue box – see it here)
Sudafed mucus relief spray (comes in a green box – see it here)
Yet the product numbers, which is used to register a certain medication, are both exactly the same!
The product number is 15513/0074 for both items.
It is always worth checking product licences when you are buying medication.
Buying your medication without a prescription
So you have just left the GP surgery with a prescription. However, a prescription will set you back £8.20.
Did you know, you can ask the pharmacist if you can get a cheaper, over the counter alternative? You can often save yourself a few pound by doing this so it is worth a try.