How Much Does a Private Prescription Cost?

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The price of private prescription medicine varies depending on the type of medicine that you have been privately prescribed.

You may find that the cost of a private prescription may sometimes be less than NHS prescriptions. However, this may not be so for all private prescriptions.

In England, all NHS prescription items are priced at £9.65. This means that each item on a prescription - and not the total medication itself - costs £9.65. This is a tax which is unrelated to the costs of the medication being prescribed.

pharmacist completing a prescription

A private prescription cost is calculated based on the medication and the level of service you receive.

The cost of your private prescription will reflect the actual cost of the medication prescribed and a fee to the pharmacy for dispensing the prescription (which may vary between pharmacies). Therefore, it will not be charged at the NHS fee of £9.65.

When obtaining private prescription medication, one key thing to consider is - the pricing is not a fixed fee. It’s possible to save money by asking for generic versions of your required drug.

Branded medication is most often the original version of a medicine, developed and sold by the founding pharmaceutical company. After a set period, the patent on this branded medicine expires. When that happens, other pharmaceutical companies can begin to manufacture the same active drug under different names. Generic drugs contain the exact same active ingredient as the original branded version. But they usually tend to be cheaper because they did not have to pay for researching, developing and marketing the medication.

One famous example of a branded medicine is Viagra, the first and original drug designed to treat erectile dysfunction. Viagra’s patent ran out, then other companies began developing generic versions. The cheaper generic version of Viagra is called Sildenafil. Sildenafil is the active ingredient in Viagra.

Doctors are encouraged to prescribe ‘generically’ to ensure that the most cost-effective version of the medication is prescribed. For some medications, branded prescriptions are required (e.g. insulin) to ensure that the right device/strength is dispensed – this is important for safe prescribing. Ask your doctor if a generic medication is available and suitable for you.

How will I obtain my private prescription?

The traditional method of private prescription services works by issuing you with a paper prescription during a face-to-face appointment. Wherever possible, we will issue your prescription electronically directly to a pharmacy of your choice using a secure electronic system similar to that used to send NHS prescriptions electronically.

Find more information on this system at Advanced Electronic Private Prescriptions UK - SignatureRx