We understand that people with cancer are worried about coronavirus. Here is the latest guidance. We will update it regularly.

Practical issues

Share experiences and advice on practical issues when living with cancer, such as money, work, benefits, transport, food and drink, organising support at home, or getting specialist equipment.

When does exemption from prescription charges begin?

Posted by


I was after some advice on at what point you can apply for exemption from charges. I don't recall either my hospital breast care unit or my gp dispensary ever suggesting that I fill in the form. Then I saw on the internet that prescriptions were free when you are having cancer treatment so I have been waiting for my radiotherapy to start then I submitted my form to my surgery and am waiting to hear.

However I have been on Tamoxifen since October (?) last year and other internet searches have suggested that even at that point I would have been eligible to apply. I feel quite cross if this is the case as, although my gp dispensary has suggested to me before that I buy a pre-paid certificate (I finally did last month), I am sure they have taken a £9 prescription charge off me for a box of Tamoxifen without ever pointing out that, as a cancer treatment, this should be free.

Related to my breast cancer, I have paraneoplastic stiff person's syndrome which is a rare auto immune syndrome caused by my cancer and I take three different regular medications for this and have also taken a course of steroids. I have paid for all of these and am wondering how much of it should have been free?

Are you able to tell me at what point I actually became eligible to apply for exemption and whether there would be any way of getting back prescription money I have paid unnecessarily?

Thank you.

Posted by

Hi , I’m sorry to hear that you haven’t been benefiting from free prescriptions, for me as soon as I was diagnosed my GPS surgery receptionists gave me the form to fill out for free prescriptions, and got a doctor to sign it, so I have not had the dilemma that you are now in. 

I don’t know if you have any redress from your surgery, but I certainly hope so. I am not sure if you will find anyone with real life experience of having to claim these charges back which is what this peer to peer help usually helps with but I’d recommend you pose a question in the ask an expert section, I’ve put the link below to help.


They might recommend that you phone to speak to the Money and Work Team on freephone 0808 808 0000. The Welfare Rights Advisers are available Monday – Friday 8am – 8pm and Saturday 9am – 5pm. So they can see what else they can help you with financially.

I am a bit concerned that the link below that I found from googling suggests you cant not claim any refund with out an FP47 refund receipt, that presumably you didn’t know to ask for at the time of paying for your prescription 

https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/help-nhs-prescription-costs which is why I think you should check with Macmillan professionals, to see if they can help with your cause.

Best wishes


What is a Community Champion?

You can call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or contact them by email.

Posted by

Thank you very much for your advice. I will follow it up. 

Posted by

Hi , just to add to my friend KYs answer you may also want to join our very supportive Breast cancer group.

Posting in this group will open up your concerns to a wider group of people who know exactly what you are going through at the moment.

Follow the link I've created, join the group then introduce yourself to the group and post questions after selecting 'start a discussion' and you can also join in with existing conversations by clicking on 'reply'.

Mike - Thehighlander

It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela