End unfair prescription charges

We are campaigning for an end to prescription charges for everyone with asthma. No more #payingtobreathe

As members of the Prescription Charges Coalition, Asthma UK is calling on the government to: 

  • Immediately suspend prescription charges for people with long term conditions during this critical time, so that vulnerable people can take the medication they need to stay well and out of hospital
  • Subsequently review the medical exemptions list, taking into account the professional opinion of healthcare professionals and the impact on patients 
  • Commit to making prescriptions for people with long-term conditions, including asthma, free of charge indefinitely, so that no one in England has to pay to breathe.

Call to action:

  • We are calling on the government for an emergency suspension of prescription charges for vulnerable people with long-term conditions in England, so that people can take the medication they need to stay well and stay out of hospital during this unprecedented time
  • We are calling on people with asthma, healthcare professionals and the public to join our campaign to fight unfair prescription charges, so people with asthma are no longer #payingtobreathe


Pay for my heating or my medicine?

Tenesha faced an impossible choice: paying her heating bills, or paying for her lifesaving asthma medicine.

September 2019: Healthcare professionals join the campaign

In conjunction with the Royal College of Nursing, the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists and Primary Care Respiratory Society UK, Asthma + Lung UK have conducted a survey of over 750 healthcare professionals to understand their views of asthma prescription charges.

The key findings from the survey of healthcare professionals revealed:

  • 98% think the current medical exemptions list should be reviewed
  • 57% have had patients who have had an asthma attack or needed emergency care because their patient skipped their medication
  • 48% reported patients missing an asthma appointment because they were worried about the cost of the medicines they might be prescribed
Beverley Bostock
Nurse Practitioner who sat on the National Review of Asthma Deaths and Asthma Lead for the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists

This report makes for a sobering read. It is unthinkable that people in England are risking their health and potentially their lives because they cannot afford their medication. There is absolutely no justification for the current prescription charges system to continue as it is; people with asthma are being discriminated against, which is a blatant breach of ethical principles. This report conveys a powerful message which should act as a call to action for those who can make change happen. We now need politicians and policy makers to step up to the mark and address our findings as a matter of urgency.

A hidden harm

Why healthcare professionals want to stop unfair asthma prescription charges

February 2019: Survey reveals true impact of prescription charges on people with asthma 

Asthma UK has conducted the largest ever survey carried out on prescription charges, engaging over 9,000 people. The results are staggering, revealing many people with asthma are cutting back on their medication for financial reasons with a dramatic impact on their health. In light of this evidence, Asthma UK is campaigning to stop unfair asthma prescription charges.

The key findings from the survey revealed:

  • 76% of respondents (5664 people) said that they sometimes, or always, struggled to afford their asthma prescriptions.
  • 57% of respondents (4259 people) reported skipping their asthma medication because of the cost of their prescriptions, 82% of whom said that their symptoms got worse as a result.
  • 97% of respondents (8359 people) felt that it was unfair that they were having to pay for their asthma prescriptions and supported our campaign to scrap the unfair asthma tax.

Paying to breathe

Why unfair asthma prescription charges must be stopped