You can get free NHS prescriptions if, at the time the prescription is dispensed, you:

• are 60 or over

• are under 16

• are 16 to 18 and in full-time education

• are pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months and have a valid maternity exemption certificate (MatEx)

• have a specified medical condition and have a valid medical exemption certificate (MedEx)

• have a continuing physical disability that prevents you going out without help from another person and have a valid MedEx

• hold a valid war pension exemption certificate and the prescription is for your accepted disability

•are an NHS inpatient


You're also entitled to free prescriptions if you or your partner (including civil partner) receive, or you're under the age of 20 and the dependant of someone receiving:

• Income Support

• Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance

• Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

• Pension Credit Guarantee Credit

• Universal Credit and meet the criteria

If you're entitled to or named on:

• a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate – if you do not have a certificate, you can show your award notice; you qualify if you get Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits with a disability element (or both), and have income for tax credit purposes of £15,276 or less

• a valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2)

People named on an NHS certificate for partial help with health costs (HC3) may also get help.


Find out more about the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS)


Medical exemptions

People with certain medical conditions can get free NHS prescriptions if:

•they have one of the conditions listed below, and

•they hold a valid medical exemption certificate


You can obtain a receipt from the Pharmacy which will allow you to claim back the costs of your prescriptions until you receive your Medical Exception Certificate from NHS Business Services Authority.    

Just ask the Pharmacy for an FP57 in order to claim the costs back.


Medical exemption certificates are issued on application to people who have:

•a permanent fistula (for example, a caecostomy, colostomy, laryngostomy or ileostomy) requiring continuous surgical dressing or an appliance

•a form of hypoadrenalism (for example, Addison's disease) for which specific substitution therapy is essential

•diabetes insipidus or other forms of hypopituitarism

•diabetes mellitus, except where treatment is by diet alone


•myasthenia gravis

•myxoedema (hypothyroidism requiring thyroid hormone replacement)

•epilepsy requiring continuous anticonvulsive therapy

•a continuing physical disability that means the person cannot go out without the help of another person (temporary disabilities do not count, even if they last for several months)

They're also issued for people undergoing treatment for cancer:

•including the effects of cancer, or

•the effects of current or previous cancer treatment




Read FAQs about medical exemption certificates


Check you are eligible!


There's a simple way to find out if you're entitled to free NHS prescriptions and any help with other NHS costs – just use this eligibility checker


How to apply for a medical exemption certificate:


  1. Ask your doctor (GP or Hospital doctor) for an FP92A form to apply for a medical exemption certificate.

  2. Your Doctor will sign the form to confirm that your statement is correct. At your GP's discretion, a member of the GP practice who has access to your medical records can also sign the form.

  3. Your certificate will be valid from 1 month before the date the NHS Business Authority receives the application form.

  4. The MedEx lasts for 5 years and then needs to be renewed. You may receive a reminder that your certificate needs to be renewed.

  5. If you do not receive a reminder, it's your responsibility to make sure it's renewed.

  6. You can find more information about the application process and refunds on the NHS Business Authority website.

  7. Check if your exemption certificate is valid.


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