Cost of HRT for the menopause to be slashed in new prescription deal for women that will give them a year's supply for £18.70
The cost of Hormone Replacement Therapy for women going through the menopause in England is set to be slashed to less than £20 a year, the government has announced.
From April 1 a new offer on prescriptions for HRT will mean patients can have a year's worth of treatment for the cost of two single prescription charges - currently £18.70.
The change - which will save those suffering negative symptoms of the menopause hundreds of pounds each year - is expected to benefit around 400,000 patients currently being treated with medication.
The new pre-payment certificate - or PPC - will be valid for 12 months and will be able to be used against an approved list of HRT prescription items and there will be no limit to how many times the certificate can be used while it is valid.
Reducing the cost of HRT is part of a government drive to ensure there is better access to treatment for women as the NHS attempts to improve the health and wellbeing of female patients and how they are listened to by medical professionals.
Women’s Health Ambassador, Dame Lesley Regan, explained: "The menopause is an inevitable stage in a woman’s life course. As a gynaecologist, I’ve witnessed first-hand the symptoms that women experience, which can have debilitating impacts on their daily lives.
"Making HRT more affordable will have a hugely beneficial impact on the lives of so many women. This pre-payment certificate is a major step forward in prioritising the health and wellbeing of women."
Currently 15% of women aged 45-64 in England are currently prescribed HRT, which has increased rapidly in the last two years from around 11% and continues to increase.
Women wishing to take up the new HRT prescription deal will need to apply for the PPC through the NHS Business Service Authority or in person at a pharmacy registered to sell PPCs.
Once the certificate has been granted, it will be available for use immediately on or after April 1 and when collecting HRT products patients will just need to show the digital or paper copy of their PPC and complete the payment exemption declaration on the NHS prescription form.
Dr Ranee Thakar, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, added: "We know that cost can be one of the barriers that women face in accessing treatment to manage their symptoms during menopause, and the introduction of HRT pre-payment certificates is a positive step to improve access to HRT.
"This announcement is an important first step, and we hope that more will be done to address the challenges and inequalities faced in accessing menopause care and treatment."