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Terms and conditions for buying a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC)

The prescription prepayment service we offer is for you, the customer. Your use of this service means you agree to the following terms and conditions.


'You' means the person named on the PPC.

Legal identity

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is a Special Health Authority. Our head office is:

Stella House
Goldcrest Way
Newburn Riverside
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE15 8NY

Your PPC

You can only:

  • buy a PPC if you live in England
  • use the PPC for your own NHS prescriptions

A PPC covers any item prescribed on an NHS prescription (excluding support tights).

You should use the PPC as evidence of your entitlement to free NHS prescriptions.

Before you buy

Check if you are entitled to free prescriptions on other grounds before buying a PPC. Refunds are only given under limited circumstances, so make sure you need to buy one before doing so.

Find out more about exemption and remission categories in the leaflet HC11 'Help with health costs' (PDF: 284KB).

Cost of a PPC

The cost of a PPC is the price at the time you buy your PPC. This is regardless of the start date requested. The Department of Health and Social Care determines the cost of the PPC. This may change on 1 April each year.

Certificate length

A PPC is valid for a period of either 3 or 12 months.

PPC start date

You can choose the start date of your PPC. This can be up to one calendar month before or after the date you buy. If you do not specify a start date, your PPC will start from the date you buy your PPC.

Paying by Direct Debit

If you buy a 12 month PPC, you can pay in 10 monthly instalments by Direct Debit.

By selecting this payment method, you are entering into a commitment to pay all of the instalments.

The Direct Debit option is not available at a pharmacy.

You cannot choose the date we collect your first payment. You can change your monthly payment date after we collect your first instalment.

Postal certificates will arrive within 10 working days of your application being processed.

Direct Debits which are returned as unpaid due to insufficient funds may be re-presented within 10 working days.

We will normally automatically renew your PPC when your certificate expires. If you do not want your PPC to renew you should cancel your Direct Debit at your bank after making all of your payments. You must also tell us by calling on 0300 330 1341. If you do not tell us your PPC may be renewed even if you do not want it.

If we take a Direct Debit payment from your bank without your agreement you are entitled to make an indemnity claim at your bank. They will refund your money immediately. This is part of the Direct Debit Guarantee.

We may refuse to accept payment for a 12 month PPC by means of Direct Debit instalments in certain circumstances.

Direct Debit Guarantee

                                                                  The Direct Debit Guarantee                       

  • This Guarantee is offered by all banks and building societies that accept instructions to pay Direct Debits
  • If there are any changes to the amount, date or frequency of your Direct Debit the NHS Business Services Authority will notify you 10 working days in advance of your account being debited or as otherwise agreed. If you request the NHS Business Services Authority to collect a payment, confirmation of the amount and date will be given to you at the time of the request.
  • If an error is made in the payment of your Direct Debit, by the NHS Business Services Authority or your bank or building society, you are entitled to a full and immediate refund of the amount paid from your bank or building society.
           -   If you receive a refund you are not entitled to, you must pay it back when the NHS Business Services Authority asks you to.
  • You can cancel a Direct Debit at any time by simply contacting your bank or building society. Written confirmation may be required. Please also notify us.

Errors or changes of circumstances

It's important your details are correct and kept up to date. You should report any errors or changes of circumstances without delay to NHSBSA.

When you claim free NHS prescriptions, we'll check that you are entitled to the exemption you have declared.

NHS prescription charge refund

Ask for an NHS receipt (FP57) when you pay for your prescription. You can’t get one later. The FP57 tells you how to claim. You have to apply for a refund within three months of paying the prescription charge.

PPC cancellations

Your PPC cannot be cancelled. You may be able to get a refund if you become entitled to free NHS prescriptions.

If you pay for your PPC by Direct Debit and you wish to cancel your payments, contact us. If you cancel your Direct Debit, you may have an outstanding balance to pay. We'll contact you if you have any money outstanding.

If you claim free NHS prescriptions without a valid exemption, you may be issued with a penalty charge notice. 

PPC refunds

You may be able to claim a full or partial refund if you become entitled to free NHS prescriptions while your PPC is still valid. The amount of refund depends on:

  • how long your PPC is valid for
  • when and how your circumstances change

For full refund details, including the time limit for claiming, call us on 0300 330 1341 or check leaflet HC11 'Help with health costs' (PDF: 284KB).