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Last Updated: Friday, 1 October, 2004, 12:03 GMT 13:03 UK
Q and A: Welsh prescription prices
Prescription charges in Wales have fallen to 5, compared to 6.40 in the rest of the UK.

So what will that mean - and what happens when the Welsh Assembly Government scraps the charge completely by 2007?

When will prescriptions become free in Wales?

Prescription charges in Wales will go altogether in 2007.

Over the next few years, the Welsh assembly government is planning to drop the price once in 2005, then again in 2006, before they finally disappear in 2007. It is not yet known by how much the price will drop each year.

Where does the money go from prescriptions?

The prescription charge is a contribution to the NHS - it is not a payment for the pharmacist and bears no relationship to the cost of the medicine either.

It goes towards to the Local Health Board (LHB) that the pharmacist is contracted to.

If an English prescription is dispensed in a pharmacy which is contracted to a Welsh LHB then the charge will go to the Welsh LHB. This works the same way in England.

Will people from outside Wales have to pay more at a Welsh pharmacy?

Not at the moment - from now on, anyone taking prescriptions across the border into Wales will be charged 5, rather than 6.40 in the rest of the UK.

Will people from outside Wales have to pay when prescriptions are free from 2007?

Yes they will. They will have to pay the full prescription charge which applies to the rest of the UK.

The assembly government intends to allow only prescriptions written by doctors registered with Welsh health boards to be claimed against the reduced charges.

They do not have any exact dates when this will happen, but it will be before prescriptions are free in 2007.

Will people from Wales have to pay more at English pharmacies?

Yes - if anyone from Wales takes a prescription to a pharmacy outside Wales, they will have to pay the full price.

Wales cuts prescriptions by 1
01 Oct 04 |  Wales
In Pictures: Prescription cost cuts
30 Sep 04 |  In Pictures

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