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Cheaper HRT for women experiencing menopause symptoms

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

About 400,000 women across England will get better access to menopause support – saving hundreds of pounds and making treatment more accessible.

The government is introducing a new prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) from 1 April 2023. The certificate will help women on HRT save hundreds of pounds a year, reducing their HRT costs to less than £20 a year.

Better access to HRT will improve the lives of millions of women in England who suffer from negative symptoms of the menopause.

From 1 April 2023, women prescribed HRT – the main treatment for menopause symptoms – will have access to a new scheme enabling access to a year’s worth of menopause prescription items for the cost of two single prescription charges (currently £18.70).

The PPC will be valid for 12 months and can be used for HRT prescription items, such as patches, tablets and topical preparations. There will be no limit to how many times the certificate can be used while it is valid.

The introduction of the certificate delivers one of the government’s priorities for the Women’s Health Strategy for England. Published last summer, the strategy sets out an ambitious new agenda for improving the health and wellbeing of women and girls and to improve how the health and care system listens to women. Menopause was announced as a priority area within the strategy.

Reducing the cost of HRT was one of the priorities of the Menopause Taskforce set up last year.

Minister for women Maria Caulfield said: “Around three-quarters of women will experience menopause symptoms, with a quarter experiencing severe symptoms – which can seriously impact their quality of life.

“Reducing the cost of HRT is a huge moment for improving women’s health in this country, and I am proud to be announcing this momentous step forward.

“In our Women’s Health Strategy, we made menopause a top priority. By making HRT more accessible, we’re delivering on our commitment to women.”

About 15% of women aged 45 to 64 in England are currently prescribed HRT, which has increased rapidly in the last two years from around 11% and continues to increase.

The government has accepted the recommendations of the HRT Taskforce, including encouraging and supporting manufacturers to boost supply to meet growing demand and continuing to issue serious shortage protocols when needed to even out distribution. This involved allowing alternative products to be dispensed when necessary, and reducing the need for the patient to return to their GP.

How can I get a HRT PPC?

Women will need to apply for the PPC through the NHS Business Services Authority or in person at a pharmacy registered to sell PPCs. Once it has been granted, it will be available for use immediately on or after 1 April 2023.

When collecting HRT products, patients will be able to simply show the digital or paper copy HRT PPC to the pharmacist and complete the exemption declaration on the NHS prescription form.

The HRT PPC is in addition to the existing help with prescription charges, including the three and 12-month PPCs.

For people who need multiple medicines, the existing PPCs may remain a more cost effective method of paying for prescriptions.