More than 10 million Britons rely on prescription drugs and in Wales and Scotland everyone can claim their drugs for free on the NHS. However, in England only different groups of people are eligible for free NHS prescriptions.
For example, people can apply for a free NHS prescription if, at the time the prescription is issued, they are over 60, under 16, or aged 16-18 and in full-time education .
When withdrawing their prescription, people must then tick the box on the prescription form corresponding to their situation.
Britons who ‘falsely’ or even ‘falsely’ claim they are entitled to a free prescription but are not actually entitled to it could face a £100 fine for ‘misleading’ the NHS.
If caught, they will likely be asked to pay the original NHS prescription or dental treatment fee and then the penalty fee on top of that.
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Usually the fine is five times the original amount owed or up to £100.
The NHS can then also charge an additional £50 if a person does not pay within 28 days of receiving the penalty notice.
The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is responsible for checking claims made for free NHS prescriptions and NHS dental care.
The group performs monthly random checks on prescription forms and dental claim forms to check for fraud and errors.
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The calls are being made because paying for drugs could become even more unaffordable for low-income households, even with the current help some people can get.
A recent survey by the National Pharmacy Association found that nearly nine in ten pharmacists in England found they had patients who often went without prescription drugs because they could not afford to pay.
More than three-quarters of pharmacies in England said they have patients who sometimes go without prescription drugs because of the price.
The same number said it happened “one to five times a week.”
Commenting on the recent findings, Nick Kaye, Vice President of the National Pharmacy Association, said: “People should not be denied access to prescription drugs based on their ability to pay.
“For pharmacists, processing prescription fees is a task that adds workload but brings no benefit to the patient.
“We would like to see the prescription tax reformed or removed altogether, to remove this barrier to treatment.”
A DHSC spokesperson previously told Express.co.uk: “We recognize the pressures people are facing with the rising cost of living and we are taking action to support households, including freezing the cost of order for the first time in 12 years.
“Thanks to our extensive arrangements to help people pay NHS prescription costs, almost 89% of prescription items in England are already provided free of charge.”