Cystic fibrosis trust prescription charges No. 10 Downing Street hand in

Cystic Fibrosis Trust is today (Monday 6 March) delivering over 1000 signed prescriptions to No.10 Downing Street, calling on the Prime Minister to urgently review the outdated prescription charges exemption list drawn up in the late 1960s when most people with cystic fibrosis did not live beyond childhood.

Cystic fibrosis is a life-limiting, life shortening condition that causes the buildup of a sticky mucus and requires people to take as many as 40 medications every day to stay alive. On the prescriptions, people with cystic fibrosis have explained the impact having to pay for their daily medicines has on their lives.

People affected by CF face thousands of pounds of additional annual costs* as a result of their condition, and then added cost of living pressures on top of this. The cost of prepayment certificate of £108** is simply too high for many people, meaning they have to pay per item, making yearly costs much more expensive.

David Ramsden, Chief Executive of Cystic Fibrosis Trust, said: “It’s shocking that many people with cystic fibrosis have to pay prescription charges, when their daily treatments are essential to stay alive. The Government must act without delay and urgently review the outdated exemption list, created when people with CF weren’t expected to live beyond childhood, to ensure everyone with CF can access the medications they need. This is even more important given the impact of the cost of living crisis which has an acute impact on those with long-term conditions like CF.”

James, a student with cystic fibrosis, said “Along with all the other difficulties that come along with living alone as a young adult with cystic fibrosis the fee of prescriptions are abhorrent. What’s more, during the cost-of-living crisis, where energy bills and other essentials are extortionately priced, finding the extra money to pay for medication means that compromises are made on heating my home.”

Candice, Involvement Manager at Cystic Fibrosis Trust who has cystic fibrosis, said “I believe prescription charges for people with cystic fibrosis should be free, as the burden of the condition in terms of cost and needing to spend more money just to stay alive and healthy is already larger. In my experience when you’re unwell and taking one prescribed antibiotic but it’s not working – your doctors change you to another in quick succession – the costs add up so quickly, and you start having to make tough decisions about what you can afford. This is on top of all the other regular medicines I take.  And I sometimes forgo essential items or even food that you need for the extra calories to keep you healthy as I can’t afford it all.

“Cystic Fibrosis also impacts your ability to work full time so having to pay for prescription charges out of already less money is so hard. CF was previously a childhood disease and now that for the majority, it isn’t – these factors really need to be considered and prescription charges made free for people with CF.”