They are recommended if a patient is prescribed more than four items in three months and more than 14 items in 12 months.
In the current economic climate many people are having to tighten their financial belts. So, I looked at how many patients with a chronic illness who need long-term medication purchase or are aware of PPCs.
We all know and appreciate the importance of emollient therapy in the treatment and maintenance of chronic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. It is widely recommended that a 500g tub of an emollient is used up between two and four weeks.
From my patient list of 6,400, I sampled 100 patients who did not qualify for free NHS prescriptions and had either eczema or psoriasis and were prescribed emollients or other treatments.
Only 17 per cent had purchased a PPC and alarmingly only 36 per cent knew such a certificate existed.
Cost of treatments clearly influences compliance, so as GPs we should work closely with local pharmacists to raise the profile of prepayment certificates and try to help our patients in every way possible particularly during the present economic downturn.
- Dr Arif Aslam, Burnley, Lancashire