HRT prescription prepayment certificate: what you need to know
Half a million women have signed up to scheme since launch
Menopausal women in England have saved £11 million on their HRT prescriptions since the rollout of a prepayment certificate.
Women can access HRT for menopausal symptoms at a reduced cost by paying a one-off fee for up to a year’s worth of treatment.
Half a million women have signed up to the HRT prescription prepayment certificate, known as the HRT PPC since it was introduced in April 2023 amid calls to widen access to HRT.
GP, menopause specialist and balance founder Dr Louise Newson said when the HRT PPC was launched: ‘This is a step in the right direction: other hormones are freely available on the NHS to anyone so HRT should ideally be no different.
‘Research has shown that women living in more deprived areas are less likely to be prescribed HRT. There are many health benefits from taking HRT, including reducing future risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, which many perimenopausal and menopausal women are missing out from.
‘There are too many barriers for women to access menopause treatment and cost of HRT is one so I hope this will really make a difference.
‘However, it is disappointing to see that testosterone will not be covered by the certificate. Testosterone is recommended by NICE for symptoms of low libido when HRT alone is not helping, and in my clinic patients often say it helps with other menopausal symptoms including brain fog, energy levels and low mood.’
What is the HRT prescription prepayment certificate?
The HRT PPC is a bespoke certificate that will provide women access to HRT at a reduced cost.
Instead of paying for monthly prescriptions, women can access their HRT by paying a one-off charge the equivalent of two single prescriptions (£19.30 from 1 April 2023).
More than £11 million was saved by women using the PPC between April 2023 and January 2024, according to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). There is no limit to how many times the certificate can be used, or how many HRT items it can be used for, during the 12 months it is valid.
Why was it introduced?
There have been numerous calls in recent years to widen access to HRT from women, campaigners, health professionals and politicians.
In October 2021 the government pledged to cut the cost of repeat HRT prescriptions by introducing the prepayment certificate. Following delays, the government said in January 2023 that it was ‘committed to reducing the cost of HRT’ and that work was underway to deliver the certificate.
How can I apply?
Women can apply for the certificate in person at a pharmacy registered to sell the certificates, or through the NHS Business Services Authority.
What does it cover?
The certificate is valid against a range of HRT prescription items, including patches, tablets and topical preparations. It can be used for an unlimited amount of these treatments.
A full list of treatments covered by the certificate can be found here.
The DHSC advises that to use your HRT PPC, ask your prescriber for your HRT items on a separate prescription to any other medicines you are prescribed (one prescription per item). This ensures the prescription can be processed correctly at your pharmacy.
What isn’t covered?
Testosterone preparations are not covered by the HRT PPC.
What about other parts of the UK?
The HRT prescription prepayment certificate will be made available in England only.
In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all prescriptions, including HRT, are free.
Seeking support and care from a healthcare professional
If you need menopause treatment advice, seek help from your healthcare professional or book an appointment with Newson Health.
Newson Health offers evidence-based treatment and care for women going through the perimenopause and menopause. With clinics nationwide we offer in-person and virtual consultations. We are also able to see patients who reside outside the UK following a first appointment either face-to-face in one of our clinics or virtually while in the UK.* All follow-up consultations can then be held virtually in the country you resided in.
Our team of menopause specialist doctors, nurses and pharmacists will take time to listen to you, discuss your symptoms and offer a comprehensive treatment plan, tailored to your needs and preferences.
Use the button below to find out more and book your appointment.
*This doesn’t currently apply to residents of the US and Canada. All medication will need to be sent to a UK postal address; this includes PO Box addresses.