Life-saving medication for lifelong illnesses should be free on the NHS

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The NHS does a wonderful job in the UK and free healthcare is essential for a healthy, functioning society. It is also understandable that a small fee is charged for certain prescriptions. The NHS has a number of conditions under which people can receive their prescriptions for free, and there are services in place to help with costs.

Several illnesses, however, are lifelong conditions and require daily medication to treat or manage. One of these illnesses, for example, is asthma - around 1/3 of the population of the UK suffers from asthmatic symptoms at some point in their life and a number of these people suffer from severe and chronic asthma. A large proportion of asthma sufferers take at least one inhaler daily (and often several times a day) to strengthen their airways and reduce the risk of a life-endangering attack. Unlike the daily medication for diabetes, there is no subsidy for asthma sufferers. A person who takes an inhaler daily for their fee-paying prescription lifetime will pay thousands of pounds for medicine to keep them alive.

Due to economic issues and to keep emergency medicine free, I don't necessarily believe all prescriptions should be free (although in an ideal world it would be). Medication needed daily to help treat or reduce the symptoms of lifelong, life-threatening conditions, on the other hand, should be free.



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