Free cancer drugs from April 1

CANCER patients in England can apply from today for free prescriptions with charges being abolished from April 1.

Graham Dines

CANCER patients in England can apply from today for free prescriptions with charges being abolished from April 1. Up to 150,000 patients already diagnosed with cancer are expected to benefit, and could save �100 each per year in prescription charges.

Today's announcement means the abolition of charges for everyone undergoing treatment for cancer, the effects of cancer or the effects of cancer treatment.

All medicines will be covered by the exemption, including drugs not relating to the actual disease.


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Patients will apply for a five-year exemption certificate which can be renewed as many times as necessary and will not have to be returned if their condition changes.

Application forms will be available from GP surgeries and oncology clinics but must be countersigned by the patient's GP, hospital doctor or service doctor.

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All applications received by March 24 will be processed in time to be used for April 1.

It's also likely that prescription charges for everyone with a long-term condition will be abolished, affecting five million people. Ministers are waiting for a review by Professor Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians, into how to bring in the full exemption.

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