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Anyone finding it expensive to pay for their medication

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jane52
jane52 Community member Posts: 55 Courageous
How affordable are people finding it to pay for their medication now that the NHS is reducing what they prescribe if it can be bought over the counter, particularly if for long term health conditions.  Anyone needing to skip medications due to cost.

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  • woodbine
    woodbine Community member Posts: 12,129 Disability Gamechanger
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    @jane52 good evening and welcome to scope and our forum, tbh I wasn't aware that this was happening.

    2024 Election won

  • jane52
    jane52 Community member Posts: 55 Courageous
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    If the medication needed for the health condition  is not on the local forumulary, and it can be bought over the counter, it will not get prescribed, even if needed for long term use for long term health condtions.  Have been refused several medications for lifelong condition called Sjogrens Syndrome, told to buy them over counter e.g nasal spray, certain eye drops,  other products needed for this condition.  Special toothpaste for this condition does get prescribed by dentist, not sure if that is because I am on working tax credit or it would be prescribed anyway. Medication can end up costing £60.00 per week - too expensive. Am age 64.  Belong to Sjogrens Forum and this is a common issue for people in England, not in Scotland, not sure about Wales. I would imagine people with other long term health issues are coming across this refusal to prescribe if their medicine can be bought over counter.   Went to integrated care board to request product being refused and this product did then get prescribed, after being repeatedly refused by g.p. practice .  Have a different disability for which I need medication regularly, no issues here as medication cannot be bought over the counter.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,212 Disability Gamechanger
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    woodbine said:
    @jane52 good evening and welcome to scope and our forum, tbh I wasn't aware that this was happening.

    Full details here. https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/medicines/why-cant-i-get-prescription-over-counter-medicine/

    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • 2oldcodgers
    2oldcodgers Posts: 743 Connected
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    jane52 said:
    How affordable are people finding it to pay for their medication now that the NHS is reducing what they prescribe if it can be bought over the counter, particularly if for long term health conditions.  Anyone needing to skip medications due to cost.
    What you must take into account is that most of the drugs such as Paracetamol are far cheaper to buy over the counter than what the NHS pay.
    Last year the NHS paid out £70m just for that simple drug.
    It makes sense to buy it privately than to have the NHS pay it.

  • Kimmy87
    Kimmy87 Community member Posts: 416 Pioneering
    edited December 2023
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    I qualify for free prescriptions but am expected to buy quite a few things OTC now (I'm not talking about paracetamol). 

    The one that irritates me is B12, the injections available on NHS aren't suitable so I need the tablets, but because I've never been diagnosed with a cause of my deficiency such as IBD, I have to pay for the tablets. I'm not vegetarian and eat a balanced diet so that's not the reason either. 

    GP did give me a blood test prior to withdrawal "to see if you still need treatment", well of course I wasn't deficient on that test I'm on tablets!!
    2-3 supervised attempts were made over the years to stop and guess what I got deficient again each time. 
  • jane52
    jane52 Community member Posts: 55 Courageous
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    Have always bought things like paracetamol, and general over the counter medical products needed for use on a short term basis.  This is more to do with medications needed to be used for long term health conditions - I do not include paracetamol in this.  Some long term health conditions need many medications to treat and if the medications can be bought over the counter, that does not mean they are cheap e.g. eye drops cost around £11.00, creams cost £10.99, for example and do not last long.  Add more medical products needed for long term health condition and cost rises.  Also there is interaction with prescribed drugs already being taken.  Bought an antihistamine as advised by NHS, checked out interaction with pharmacist as leaflet on drug said to check safe to take.  Pharmcist said it would be.  It was not, and caused adverse medical reaction.  I believe a g.p. would have more knowledge of this.  An argument to prescribe.
  • Albus_Scope
    Albus_Scope Posts: 5,706 Disability Gamechanger
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    Don't mind me, I just wanted to pop in and wish @jane52 a very warm welcome to the community. :)

    Albus (he/him)

    Online Community Coordinator @ Scope

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    Neurodivergent.
  • jane52
    jane52 Community member Posts: 55 Courageous
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    Thank you Albus_Scope
    All good wishes
    jane52
  • jane52
    jane52 Community member Posts: 55 Courageous
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    Re blood tests.  My Sjogrens Syndrome was not picked up through regular NHS blood tests I have due to my other disability.  A more indepth blood test done privately picked up Sjogrens, though I had presented with Sjogrens symptoms to g.p. over last couple of years.  Private test identified Sjogrens, the type that puts me at risk of a certain cancer
  • Rosie_Scope
    Rosie_Scope Posts: 3,290 Disability Gamechanger
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    Big welcome from me too, @jane52 :)

    I can see why they're doing it to cut costs, but it does seem like an oversight for people with long term conditions who are often on lower incomes. It really adds up when you need multiple things to manage your symptoms, especially if it could have really dire consequences should you not be able to afford them. I've been on various bits of over the counter medication and supplements lately and it does become expensive.

    I've not got any answers I'm afraid, but just wanted to say you're not alone in worrying about it! The only thing I could suggest would be to check you're getting all the benefits you're entitled to. Hope you're managing okay at the moment.
    Rosie (she/her)

    Online Community Coordinator @ Scope

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  • jane52
    jane52 Community member Posts: 55 Courageous
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    Thank you Rosie_Scope  Having a long term disability for which I take prescribed medication since a child, I have steered clear of most other medications if possible other than antibiotics or paracetamol when needed.   I  am not anti buying some over the counter medications but do not think this has been thought through enough for people who need to use more expensive over the counter medications and may not find this affordable long term.  Integrated care boards seem to have different drugs on their formulary list that they approve, and this can differ per county.  I do wonder how they chose which medical conditions they chose to prescribe over the counter medications for, which not.  It is about the cost, but not just the cost.  The g.p. becomes taken out of the picture, putting patient more at risk of adverse drug reactions - as I experienced.   Over the years g.p.'s have always looked up drugs to check interaction with the drugs I already take, or if it is safe for someone with my disability to take this medication.   This skill seems missing in buying the medication over the counter, even if checked out with pharmacist.
    Thank you for responding to my post
    All good wishes
    Jane52
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