The breathing cost

Increased prescription charges are causing over half of asthma patients in England, who are not exempt, to cut back on their medications, Asthma UK has warned.

The charity’s ‘Stop Unfair Asthma Prescriptions’ campaign follows on from its Paying to Breathe report, for which it surveyed over 9,000 asthma patients. The report found that of an estimated 52 per cent of asthma patients who pay prescription charges, three quarters struggle to afford them – and 57 per cent of those have cut back on medications due to cost.

This is exacerbating regional and socioeconomic inequalities, Asthma UK says, with people in some parts of the country disproportionately affected and 70 per cent of individuals in the lowest income bracket cutting back on medicines due to cost.

Asthma UK chief executive Kay Boycott said: “Action must be taken now to stop the impact prescription charges are having on the health of people with asthma. Asthma UK is calling on the secretary of state for health and social care to stop unfair prescription charges, so that people with asthma no longer have to pay to breathe.”

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