Government pledges to reduce cost of repeat HRT prescriptions
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has renewed its call for the prescription charge in England to be scrapped altogether following the Government’s decision to cut the cost of hormone replacement therapy treatments.
The Department of Health and Social Care pledged last week to implement longer prescribing cycles and reduce the number of prescriptions women receive for HRT, which could see them pay one charge for a 12-month supply of the treatment. The DHSC claimed this proposal could help women save up to £205 per year.
The government is also considering combining two hormone treatments into one prescription to improve women’s access to HRT treatment over concerns that HRT can be classed as two medicines if it contains oestrogen and progesterone, resulting in women being charged twice for one course of treatment.
The announcement follows a campaign by Welsh Labour MP Carolyn Harris, who described the parliamentary response to her private members' bill as a "result for women across the country".
Ms Harris will be co-chair of a new cross-government menopause taskforce, which she said will "look at all the other areas of support which are currently falling short and failing women".
RPS: 'Tinkering with a broken system'
Commenting on the news, English Pharmacy Board chair Thorrun Govind said the prescription charge must be removed completely.
“Any moves to support women’s health are to be welcomed. However, (this) news about reducing the cost of prescriptions for HRT for menopausal women does not go far enough,” she said.
“The Government must go further and scrap prescription charges in England altogether as is already the case in Scotland and Wales. Taxing those that are in vital need of healthcare support is unacceptable.”
Ms Govind said “tinkering with a broken system is not the way forward” and warned the government's proposals risk “introducing a range of unintended consequences such as shortages of HRT and increased wastage.”
She called for “a proper review of any proposals” before they are introduced and insisted the pharmacy profession should be “closely involved.”
“We have already called for a reduction in inequalities in women’s health and hope to have a discussion with the DHSC on how we can further address this,” she said.