Women in the UK are asking the government to review prescription costs for HRT, a treatment used to ease symptoms in menopausal women.
In Wales and Scotland, prescriptions are free but currently in England, one prescription for HRT costs £9.35, going up to £18.70 if two different types of hormones are needed. Prescription for these drugs is only given on a short-term basis, meaning women must buy them regularly.
In the government's proposal for England, HRT prescriptions will be made available on an annual basis, reducing the cost by up to two-hundred pounds a year for the women who use them.
NHS England are looking into combining two hormone treatments into one, which will benefit at least ten percent of women using HRT.
Labour MP, Carolyn Harris has proposed a bill in Parliament to remove the costs for HRT entirely, she said: ‘The Bill was never about wins for either side of the political divide – it was about wins the 51% of the population who will directly experience the menopause’.
‘The cost of HRT NHS prescriptions will be slashed – with the Government committing to working towards getting this down to a single prescription charge per year – and the new task force will look at all the other areas of support which are currently falling short and failing women’.
Menopause is set to form a central part of the first ever government-led Women’s Health Strategy and will look at ways to improve access to HRT as data showed that access to HRT is a major concern for older women.
Minister for Women’s Health, Maria Caulfield said: ‘we have heard loud and clear from women across the country and MPs that menopause support is a key issue we as a government need to do more to address.’
‘As a woman and a nurse, I am acutely aware of how challenging the symptoms of the menopause can be to live with. Cutting the cost of HRT – which can be a lifeline to women severely impacted by menopause - is a great stride forward, but there is more to do’.