If you have cancer, and are entitled to treatment on the NHS, you can apply for a ‘medical exemption certificate’ (MEDEX certificate) to get free prescriptions.
You qualify if you are receiving treatment for:
- the effects of cancer
- the effects of current or previous cancer treatment
To apply for an exemption certificate, your GP or hospital doctor will need to sign a FP92A form. You can get this form from your GP, pharmacy or cancer clinic. It will then need to be sent to the address on the form.
You should expect to get the exemption certificate within 10 days of the application being received. Once you have the certificate, you won’t have to pay for any prescriptions, including medicines unrelated to your cancer treatment.
You show the certificate to the pharmacist when you collect your prescription. The certificate lasts for five years. You can renew it if you are still eligible by speaking to your doctor.
If you need to pay for your prescription before your medical exemption certificate arrives, you can get a refund as long as:
- you ask for an FP57 refund receipt when you pay (you can’t get one later)
- the start date of your medical exemption certificate is the same or earlier than the date you pay for your prescription (certificates are backdated, no more than one month from the date that your application is received).
You must claim your refund within three months of paying. The FP57 refund receipt tells you what to do.
If you are over 60 years or receiving certain benefits you may already be entitled to free prescriptions and will not need an exemption certificate.
If you live in England and do not qualify for a medical exemption certificate, you could save money with a Prescription Payment Certificate.
Speak to your doctor, pharmacist or specialist nurse if you are not sure whether you are entitled to free prescriptions. They can also refer you organisations or advisors who can support you with financial or benefits advice if needed.
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