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Should asthmatics get free prescriptions?

(31 Posts)
Yorkiegirl Thu 24-Mar-05 11:48:08

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jessicasmummy Thu 24-Mar-05 11:54:28

my (late) mum was an asthma sufferer and had inhalers all the time, she always said she should have it free, but with all the other drugs she had to take (ones that eventually killed her ) she found buying a yearly prescription certificate cheaper than paying out for individual items.

GeorginaA Thu 24-Mar-05 12:08:43

It's a tough one (I'm asthmatic too, btw). I think the biggest problem is that the NHS just doesn't have the money to fund all the medication for free and they're already subsidized in the subscription charge. I have to pay for my own glasses too even though it's not my fault I am short sighted.

I think I'd rather pay a subsidized price and have the people who really do need help paying get it free than them running out of money and being unable to pay for (say) chemotherapy drugs for patients that needed them...

Tiggiwinkle Thu 24-Mar-05 12:14:51

I think the regulations governing which illnesses qualify for free prescriptions are way out of date. There are lots of conditions which do not qualify which are equally life-threatening to those that do. My DH has to take warfarin as he is at risk of PEs and strokes without it-but he does not qualify. The system needs updating to cover all life-threatening conditions-or none-so that it is fair.

lockets Thu 24-Mar-05 12:17:56

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Furball Thu 24-Mar-05 12:18:06

I too am in agreement with you Yorkiegirl. I am also a sufferer. The thing that annoys me is, there are some conditions that you can have free presecriptions with, even if their present ailment is totally unrelated to the actual condition that enables them that free prescription. I personally am not asking for all my prescriptions to be free, just the ones that are asthma related. As yes, without them, we would probably die

SoupDragon Thu 24-Mar-05 12:19:27

I'm not asthmatic and agreed with Yorkiegirl at first. Only free asthma medication though. Then I read Georgina's post and I think I agree with her more.

The prescription charge is really high as it is (I was p*ssed off over Christmas beczuse I had to pay 2 charges when my first course of anitibiotics didn't work for example). I think the whole system needs an overhaul to make it fairer.

hoxtonchick Thu 24-Mar-05 12:24:30

i work for a health policy think tank & this is what we think! i have diabetes & therefore get all my prescriptions free. this seems a bit silly, i wouldn't at all mind paying for non-diabetes related ones.

Gwenick Thu 24-Mar-05 12:26:19

Oooh tricky one - I do agree that all life threatening illnesses should be free - but that would be a huge cost. And it would also mean that others that 'need' their medication, but won't die without it would still have to pay - or even pay more.

My mum won't die if she doesn't take her medication - but takes nearly 20 tablets a day for her Parkinson's Disease, Arthritis and High Blood Pressure. Even with the prescription certificate it's still really expensive - and she'll be on most of those tablets for life.

006 Thu 24-Mar-05 12:49:09

I hear where you are coming from (as an asthmatic), but it is true that some of the drugs are highly subsidised. I usually buy a season ticket (but pregnant at the moment so on a freebie!). When I compare this to the cost of a bottle of wine per week, I think we have to be very grateful for the NHS imperfect as it is.

My Mum has had chemo recently and I discovered the cost of her drugs whilst investigating side effects. I was stunned by the cost and yet very reassured by the fact that she was getting what she needed, even though it was expensive.

I know the NHS is very dated, has many problems and sometimes we feel let down by it, (my family is quite a heavy user right now) but I firmly believe that healthcare that is (largely) free at the point of issue is one of the most civilised aspect of this country.

Steps off soapbox and returns to ironing!!!


Yorkiegirl Thu 24-Mar-05 12:53:58

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jampots Thu 24-Mar-05 12:58:18

My friend in US has to pay $30 every time she goes to the doctor. She's 10 weeks pregnant and hasnt been yet because "she doesnt have to". She's also epileptic and has 3 kids and would love to be part of the NHS again.

Know what you mean though - it must be a pain having to fork out just so you can keep breathing properly. I have to use one if my hayfever gets really bad in Summer and that's pretty annoying

Nemo1977 Thu 24-Mar-05 12:58:42

I think we should as I have to pay out around £13-£20 a month on inhalers. For the right to be able to breath. Some gps will put 2 inhalers down as one item so u only have to pay for one but you have to have a very sympathetic gp.
If you also add into it the added vunerability to chest infections / needing steroids etc it is a nightmare.
But then I suppose it depends where you would draw the line.

iota Thu 24-Mar-05 13:02:32

Nemo - what about a prepaymnet certificate here

006 Thu 24-Mar-05 13:03:50

Definitely soapbox time - I have just ran a search on the cost of 28 days supply of seretide -approx £25 to the NHS. A 21 month pre-payment certificate costs £91.80. As I take a combination of inhalers, occasionally use steriods and anti-biotics, I think it is a bargain!

How much is a haircut?

How about a levy on cigatettes to subsidize asthmatics who suffer second hand smoke? Or free inhalers for non-smoking asthmatics?

iota Thu 24-Mar-05 13:05:00

12 month 006

006 Thu 24-Mar-05 13:06:26

Clearly my drugs have affected my typing! Actually have been spaced on on Ventolin - interesting experience!

006 Thu 24-Mar-05 13:07:09

Oops - see the cigattetes to prove this point!

iota Thu 24-Mar-05 13:08:05

I ran out of ventolin when staying with a friend and had to get an emergency prescription - the true cost of one of those inhalers is over £30

nutcracker Thu 24-Mar-05 13:10:39

I think they should be free yes. A family friend is severly asthmatic and spends a fortune on all of her drugs to keep her asthma under control. She has also said before that she wouldn't mind paying for any other asthma unrelated drugs but thinks the asthma ones should be free.

My daughter also has asthma and I personally don't hink she should have to pay for her inhalers when she is older.

nutcracker Thu 24-Mar-05 13:11:55

It is silly cos my mom gets free perscriptions because of a thyroid problem, but that is only one set of tablets a month, but she then gets all other perscriptions free to, painkillers, etc etc.

006 Thu 24-Mar-05 13:17:00

I agree it seems a bit strange when apparently unrelated conditions still get freebies - I suppose pain relief may relate to other conditions.

I still think that free prescriptions with means testing (inc pregnant and over 60s) combined with the prepaymant option would cover most people.

misdee Thu 24-Mar-05 13:24:59

dh has serious heart problems as well as being asthmatic. wehilst we were waiting for our income support to be dealt with when he was 1st ill he had to pay for each item of medication. in one month we spent £100 on perscriptions. we managed to claim it all back as we asked for reciepts for each item.

if we didnt qualify then i'd buy a pre-payment yearly certificate.

Yorkiegirl Thu 24-Mar-05 13:27:17

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Nemo1977 Thu 24-Mar-05 13:27:17

i didnt realise prepayment certificate was so chea. Definetly looking into it. If im not pg this month then I will get

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