Year-long access to cheaper HRT with prepay certificate set to help 40k women

·2 min read
HRT pills - Peter Dazeley/Photodisc
HRT pills - Peter Dazeley/Photodisc

Better access to hormone replacement therapy will help women fulfil their potential, a government ambassador said, as cheaper prescriptions become available from Saturday.

Women in England going through the menopause can now access cheaper HRT using a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) which will last for 12 months and cost £19.30.

The Government estimates the move will help 400,000 women save hundreds of pounds annually.

They can get the certificate online or in some pharmacies, and it can be used as many times as needed while valid.

The certificate includes access to eligible HRT items including patches, tablets, pessaries and gels and creams applied to the skin.

‘An important first step’

Women can check their HRT medicine is covered by the PPC by visiting the NHS website.

Prof Dame Lesley Regan, women's health ambassador for England, said: “Many women do not realise that they are going through the menopause.

“Helping to make them aware about the inevitability of becoming menopausal is an important first step.

“The next step is improving awareness that HRT may be an option to help women manage this stage of their life.

“Making HRT easier to access will significantly improve the lives of many women who choose to use it, enabling them to reach their full potential.”

Steve Barclay, Health and Social Secretary, said: “Menopause care is essential healthcare and we are ensuring cost is no longer a barrier to women getting the medicines they need.

“Better access to HRT will improve the lives of millions and gives women the freedom to take control of their symptoms.

“We’ve rightly put women’s health at the top of the agenda through our Women’s Health Strategy and continue to deliver on our commitments.”

Dr Louise Newson, GP and menopause specialist, said: “This is a step in the right direction. Other hormones are freely available on the NHS to anyone so HRT should ideally be no different.

“Research has shown that women living in more deprived areas are less likely to be prescribed HRT.

“There are many health benefits from taking HRT, including reducing future risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, which many perimenopausal and menopausal women are missing out from.

‘Too many barriers’

“There are too many barriers for women to access menopause treatment and the cost of HRT is one, so I hope this will really make a difference.

“However, it is disappointing to see that testosterone will not be covered by the certificate.

“Testosterone is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence for symptoms of low libido where HRT alone is not helping and, in my clinic, patients often say it helps with other menopausal symptoms including brain fog and low mood.”

She said other potential issues were warnings from pharmacists that the IT infrastructure was not yet in place to support the rollout, and that not all HRT products are covered by the new certificate.