How much is a private prescription?

how much is a 
private prescription

Opting for a private prescription

In the UK, everybody is entitled to free healthcare via the NHS. There are, however, certain circumstances under which charges are attached to NHS medical treatments. NHS care can often go hand-in-hand with long waiting times and overcrowded treatment centres. For these reasons, many patients opt to use private healthcare.

If you’re interested in using private healthcare services, and you’re wondering about the cost of private prescriptions, as well as how to get a private prescription online, read on.

NHS prescription costs

The first thing to know is that in England, all NHS prescription items are priced at £8.80. This means that each individual item on a prescription – and not the total prescription itself – costs £8.80. If you are picking up two or more prescription items per month, you can save money on your NHS prescriptions by ordering a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC). This is a prepaid card that lets you collect as many prescriptions as you require over a set period of three or 12 months.

In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, NHS prescriptions are free.

Private prescription costs

The cost of a private prescription is calculated depending upon what the medication is, and what kind of service you are using.

Certain private prescription services work by issuing you with a private prescription via a face-to-face appointment or online consultation with a doctor (for a fee), which you can then take to the pharmacy to have dispensed. Because the prescription is private, you will have to pay for your medication and it will not be charged at the NHS fee of £8.60. The good news is that, because the NHS rate is fixed, certain types of medication will work out cheaper when purchased privately.

Other private prescription services work by issuing prescription medication directly online. Instead of going to an appointment, or applying for a prescription online, you simply order the medication you need. To ensure that you can take your prescription medication safely, you will be required to fill out a short questionnaire (the online equivalent of the talk you would have with your GP in person) which can be assessed by a doctor. With this type of service, the cost of the medication incorporates the administrative fee and dispensing fee (and often delivery as well).

Generic vs branded medication

One key thing to consider when obtaining private prescription medication is that – because the pricing is not set at a flat rate – it’s possible to save money by obtaining generic versions of your required medicines.

Branded medication is usually the original version of a medicine, developed and sold by one pharmaceutical company. After a set period of time, the patent on this original version of the medicine runs out, which means that other pharmaceutical companies can begin to manufacture the same medication under different names. Generic medicines contain exactly the same ingredients as the original branded version, but they tend to be cheaper.

One example of a branded medicine is Viagra, which was the original drug developed to treat erectile dysfunction. When the patent on Viagra ran out, other companies began developing medicines; the generic (and cheaper) version of Viagra is known as Sildenafil, as this is the active ingredient in the tablet.

Obtaining a private prescription online

Many patients want to know how to get a private prescription online, as they are concerned with discretion and convenience. Ordering private prescription medicines online has become very easy in recent years, and there are many excellent, properly regulated services that can help meet your needs.

If you would like to see a doctor in person to obtain your private prescription, then you should look for services such as Bupa which can connect you with private GP surgeries. Once you have your private prescription, you can use a service like LloydsPharmacy to order your medication online. Simply search for the medicine you need, make your order, and then post your private prescription to us. We’ll deliver your medicine in the post for free, provided that your order has a minimum value of £5. Find out more here.

If you would prefer not to see a doctor in person, you can use an online service to obtain your prescription. With a service such as LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, you can have your medicine posted to an address of your choice, or collect it from your nearest LloydsPharmacy store. All our packaging is discreet to ensure your privacy.

Example private prescription prices

As we have already seen, the cost of a private prescription depends upon the pricing of the medicine and the administrative fee associated with the appointment or online service provided.

If you use a private GP through a service like Bupa, you can expect to pay for both the appointment and the medication. A GP appointment through Bupa is priced at £70, with additional services such as blood tests costing more. Online services offering a consultation tend to be cheaper, with administrative fees often costing around £10.

If you use an online doctor service, where you can order prescription medication directly, you’ll be able to browse the available prices on the site in question. Some services will set a minimum price which incorporates the cost of the online consultation, the medication and delivery. Others will vary their prices depending upon the product.

As an example, we looked at the pricing of erectile dysfunction medicines across three services: The Online Clinic, LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor and Boots. At The Online Clinic, a pack of Sildenafil and next day delivery is priced at £29.95. At LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, a pack of Sildenafil is priced at £23 and available for free collection or delivery. At Boots, the erectile dysfunction service involves a face-to-face appointment, and is priced at £30 for an initial consultation and supply of medicine (with repeat medication starting at £12).

The key thing to bear in mind is that each service will offer different benefits, so it’s worth spending some time researching your options before you commit to a private prescription service.

Currently, prescriptions in England are charged at £8.60 per item.

You are eligible to receive free prescriptions in England if you present the pharmacy with evidence that you are:

  • Under 16
  • Aged 16 to 18 and in full-time education
  • Aged 60 or over
  • Pregnant or have had a baby in the past year
  • Exempt from paying because of a specific medical condition
  • Exempt because you have a physical disability and cannot go out without the help of another person

Financial circumstances are also taken into account when it comes to eligibility for free prescriptions (find out more here). It’s also worth bearing in mind that all prescriptions for contraceptives are free, so no savings will be made on contraception using a PPC card.

Yes, we can deliver private prescriptions as long as we receive your prescription from your doctor. The delivery service for private prescriptions is free, however you should remember that private prescriptions are charged differently to NHS prescriptions.Find out more here.

Ordering your private prescription online is simple. Just search for your required item(s), select the item strength and quantity and add to your prescription. Once you have gone through the checkout process and purchased the item(s) you’ll need to send us your paper prescription. You can send this to us at FREEPOST RRYH-ZXJU-HYTZ, LloydsPharmacy.com, Carrington House, 39 Carrington Field Street, Stockport, SK1 3JN.