Asthma UK have launched a campaign arguing that charging asthma patients the standard prescription charge is unfair. The charity have gathered some revealing statistics on asthma:
- More than half (57%) of people with asthma who pay for their medication have skipped taking it because of the cost – an estimated 1.3 million people
- Of these, a quarter – an estimated 300,000 – said it led to an asthma attack
- More than 1 in 10 said they had needed hospital treatment
- 9 in 10 of those who are on a low income struggled to pay for their medication
- 7 in 10 of those who struggled to pay were ‘financially vulnerable’, on a zero hours contract, in debt or with no savings
- On average, asthma prescriptions cost more than £100 per year but thousands of people may be paying more than £400 per year
The charity compares asthma to other lifelong conditions where prescriptions are free (such as epilepsy or diabetes). It also notes the system in Scotland, where prescriptions are free. Asthma UK argues it is unfair to put the burden of payment on the patient in England.