Currently, only certain medical conditions are exempt from charges and the list (see below) has hardly changed since 1968 so it is now outdated and makes no sense in terms of the conditions which have been included and excluded.
People with certain medical conditions can get free NHS prescriptions if:
- they have one of the conditions listed below, and
- they hold a valid medical exemption certificate.
Medical exemption certificates are issued on application to people who have:
- a permanent fistula (for example caecostomy, colostomy, laryngostomy or ileostomy) requiring continuous surgical dressing or requiring an appliance
- a form of hypoadrenalism (for example Addison's disease) for which specific substitution therapy is essential
- diabetes insipidus or other forms of hypopituitarism
- diabetes mellitus, except where treatment is by diet alone
- myasthenia gravis
- myxoedema (that is, hypothyroidism requiring thyroid hormone replacement)
- epilepsy requiring continuous anticonvulsive therapy
- a continuing physical disability which means the person cannot go out without the help of another person. Temporary disabilities do not count even if they last for several months
- including the effects of cancer, or
- the effects of current or previous cancer treatment