Closed petition Include Sickle Cell Anemia in the List of Illnesses Eligible for a MedEx Card

I am calling for Parliament to include Sickle Cell Anemia as a listed illness eligible for a Medical Exemption Card.

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There are 15,000 in the UK that suffer from a disease called sickle cell. The majority of whom are of Afro-Caribbean decent. Although multiple medications for this illness are required daily, sickle cell sufferers have to pay for their prescriptions. This is medical racial injustice! No one should have to pay to stay alive, no one should have to pay for necessary medication.

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Government responded

This response was given on 8 September 2020

While we have no plans to make changes to the list of medical conditions exempting patients from prescription charges, someone with this debilitating illness may qualify under another exemption.

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The Government is very sorry to learn about anyone who has been diagnosed with sickle cell anaemia. We recognise the immense challenges faced by those who have this lifelong condition and their long-term needs for prescription medication to manage and treat their symptoms.

Although not everyone qualifies for free NHS prescriptions, and we can appreciate that this raises some very strong feelings, a broad range of NHS prescription charge exemptions are in place in England to help those with greatest need to ensure that prescriptions are affordable for everyone. Eligibility for these exemptions depends on the person’s age, whether they are in receipt of a war pension or certain benefits or tax credits, whether they are pregnant or have recently given birth, whether they are in qualifying full-time education, or have a qualifying medical condition. There are no plans to make changes to this list of medical conditions. Partners and dependents of the person receiving certain benefits are entitled to free prescriptions too. The current exemptions mean that around 89 percent of NHS prescription items dispensed in the community are provided free of charge.

People, who may not be exempt but who are on a low income, can seek help under the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS). This Scheme provides help with health costs on an income-related basis. The level of help available is based on a comparison between someone’s income and requirements at the time a claim is received, or at the time a charge was paid, if a refund is claimed. Further information on the NHS LIS, including how someone can apply, is available on the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) website at:

For people who have to pay NHS prescription charges and need many prescription items, they can save money with a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC). A three-monthly PPC costs £29.65 and an annual PPC costs £105.90. The annual PPC will save people money if they need more than 11 items in a year. For example, if someone needs 2 items per month, they will save £113.70 with an annual PPC, if 3 items are needed per month the saving is £223.50 with the annual PPC. To help spread the cost, people can pay for an annual PPC by ten monthly direct debits. PPCs can be obtained by calling 0300 330 1341 (local rates), online through the NHSBSA’s website at , or buying one from a registered pharmacist (listed on the NHSBSA website).

Department of Health and Social Care