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Around 400,000 women across England will get better access to menopause support – saving hundreds of pounds and making treatment more accessible.

  • Women in England will be able to access cheaper hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopause through a new prescription prepayment certificate (PPC)
  • To be rolled out from 1 April 2023, the certificate will help around 400,000 women save hundreds of pounds a year, reducing their HRT costs to less than £20 a year
  • Better access to HRT will improve the lives of millions of women in England who suffer from negative symptoms of the menopause

From 1 April 2023, women prescribed HRT – the main treatment for menopause symptoms – will have access to a new scheme enabling access to a year’s worth of menopause prescription items for the cost of 2 single prescription charges (currently £18.70).

As part of commitments to reduce the cost of HRT for menopausal women, the PPC will be valid for 12 months. It can be used against a list of HRT prescription items, and a patient can use this against an unlimited number of HRT items, such as patches, tablets and topical preparations. There will be no limit to how many times the certificate can be used while it is valid.

Reducing the cost of HRT is just one of the steps being taken by the government to improve access to HRT, alongside continuing work with suppliers to encourage and support them to boost supply to meet growing demand.

The introduction of the certificate delivers one of our year 1 priorities for the Women’s Health Strategy for England. Published last summer, the strategy sets out an ambitious new agenda for improving the health and wellbeing of women and girls and to improve how the health and care system listens to women. Menopause was announced as a priority area within the strategy.

Around 15% of women aged 45 to 64 in England are currently prescribed HRT, which has increased rapidly in the last 2 years from around 11% and continues to increase.

The government has accepted the recommendations of the HRT Taskforce, including encouraging and supporting manufacturers to boost supply to meet growing demand and continuing to issue serious shortage protocols (SSPs) when needed to even out distribution. This involved allowing alternative products to be dispensed when necessary, and reducing the need for the patient to return to their GP.

The department engages with suppliers on a weekly basis, closely monitors the supply of HRT, and regularly meets with individual suppliers, including hosting quarterly roundtables with industry to ensure a continuous supply of HRT.

Women will need to apply for the PPC through the NHS Business Services Authority or in person at a pharmacy registered to sell PPCs. Once it has been granted, it will be available for use immediately on or after 1 April 2023. When collecting HRT products, patients will be able to simply show the digital or paper copy HRT PPC to the pharmacist and complete the exemption declaration on the NHS prescription form.

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The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust