Women to receive menopause treatment for under £20 in new scheme
The treatment for menopause is about to get cheaper for women in England but there are some concerns surrounding supply. Kelly Foran reports
Hundreds of thousands of women could benefit from cheaper menopause treatment as part of a scheme to cut prescription costs.
From April 1, women prescribed hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help with the menopause, can access to a year’s worth of treatment for just under £20, The Department of Health says.
The new scheme will allow up to 400,000 women in England to make a one-off payment for 12 months of HRT, saving them hundreds of pounds a year.
Under the plan, women can use the certificate against a list of HRT prescription items.
Patches, tablets and topical preparations can all be accessed, with no limit on how many times the pre-payment certificate can be used while valid.
Women will be able to apply for the pre-payment certificate through the NHS Business Services Authority or in person at pharmacy registered to sell the certificates.
The announcement follows the publication of the government’s women’s health strategy for England last summer.
Minister for Women Maria Caulfield said: “Around three-quarters of women will experience menopause symptoms, with one-quarter experiencing severe symptoms, which can seriously impact their quality of life.
“Reducing the cost of HRT is a huge moment for improving women’s health in this country, and I am proud to be announcing this momentous step forward.
“In our Women’s Health Strategy, we made menopause a top priority – by making HRT more accessible, we’re delivering on our commitment to women.”
Around 15% of women aged 45-64 in England are currently prescribed HRT, according to the Department of Health.
The Department of Health said that it engages with suppliers on a weekly basis and closely monitors the supply of HRT.
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Dr Ranee Thakar, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “We know that cost can be one of the barriers that women face in accessing treatment to manage their symptoms during menopause, and the introduction of HRT pre-payment certificates is a positive step to improve access to HRT.
“This announcement is an important first step, and we hope that more will be done to address the challenges and inequalities faced in accessing menopause care and treatment.”