Prime minister Gordon Brown announced that England's cancer sufferers would have free prescriptions at last autumn's Labour party conference.
They will be introduced from 1 April, but patients were urged to discuss implications with GPs from this week when they can pick up application forms from surgeries and oncology clinics. They must be countersigned by a GP or hospital doctor.
Applications received by 24 March will be processed in time for the 1 April start. Patients will be able to reclaim any charges payable while applications are being processed.
Ms Primarolo said: 'I would urge patients to make an appointment with their GP this week to talk about applying for their exemption certificate.'
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