Stop unfair asthma prescription charges

Asthma UK is campaigning for an end to prescription charges for everyone with asthma. No more #payingtobreathe

Asthma UK is calling on the government to:

  • Officially review the medical exemptions list, taking into account the professional opinion of healthcare professionals and the impact on patients 

  • Commit to making asthma prescriptions free of charge so that no one has to pay to breathe.

Call to action:

  • We are calling on politicians to commit to ending unfair prescription charges for people with asthma by including a pledge in their party’s manifesto

  • We are calling on people with asthma, healthcare professionals and the public to join our campaign to fight unfair asthma prescription charges, so people with asthma can lead healthier lives.

September 2019: Healthcare professionals join the campaign

In conjunction with the Royal College of Nursing, the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists and Primary Care Respiratory Society UK, Asthma UK have conducted a survey of over 750 healthcare professionals to understand their views of asthma prescription charges.

The key findings from the survey of healthcare professionals revealed:

  • 98% think the current medical exemptions list should be reviewed
  • 57% have had patients who have had an asthma attack or needed emergency care because their patient skipped their medication
  • 48% reported patients missing an asthma appointment because they were worried about the cost of the medicines they might be prescribed

“This report makes for a sobering read. It is unthinkable that people in England are risking their health and potentially their lives because they cannot afford their medication. There is absolutely no justification for the current prescription charges system to continue as it is; people with asthma are being discriminated against, which is a blatant breach of ethical principles. This report conveys a powerful message which should act as a call to action for those who can make change happen. We now need politicians and policy makers to step up to the mark and address our findings as a matter of urgency.”

– Beverley Bostock, Nurse Practitioner who sat on the National Review of Asthma Deaths and Asthma Lead for the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists

A hidden harm: why healthcare professionals want to stop unfair asthma prescription charges


Find out more about the report

February 2019: Survey reveals true impact of prescription charges on people with asthma 

Asthma UK has conducted the largest ever survey carried out on prescription charges, engaging over 9,000 people. The results are staggering, revealing many people with asthma are cutting back on their medication for financial reasons with a dramatic impact on their health. In light of this evidence, Asthma UK is campaigning to stop unfair asthma prescription charges.

The key findings from the survey revealed:

  • 76% of respondents (5664 people) said that they sometimes, or always, struggled to afford their asthma prescriptions.
  • 57% of respondents (4259 people) reported skipping their asthma medication because of the cost of their prescriptions, 82% of whom said that their symptoms got worse as a result.
  • 97% of respondents (8359 people) felt that it was unfair that they were having to pay for their asthma prescriptions and supported our campaign to scrap the unfair asthma tax.

Paying to breathe: why unfair asthma prescription charges must be stopped

Read the report