People with asthma are rationing their medication due to prescription costs leading to asthma attacks and hospital admissions, a survey by Asthma UK has revealed.
The survey found that that of the 2.3 million people in England with asthma who have to pay for prescriptions, more than three quarters (76%) say they struggle to afford them. More than half (57%) of people with asthma who pay for their medication have skipped taking it because of the cost– an estimated 1.3 million people. Of these, a quarter – an estimated 300,000 – said it led to an asthma attack.
‘It is unfair that millions of people with asthma are getting a raw deal, paying unfair costs for their medicine just to stay well. No one should have to pay to breathe,’ said Dr Samantha Walker, Director of Research and Policy at Asthma UK. ‘Asthma is a serious condition that kills three people every day in the UK and the best way for people to stay well is to take their life-saving medication, often for their entire life.’
According to Asthma UK, the law on prescription charges is out of date and because asthma is a growing problem, the government needs to take action to help people with asthma to stay out of hospital. The number of adults with a lifetime diagnosis of asthma in the UK is increasing. The UK death rate from asthma has increased 20% in the last five years and is among the worst in Europe.
‘When people are struggling financially they may feel they simply cannot afford to pay for the medication. By not taking it, they are at risk of being hospitalised or even dying from an asthma attack,’ added Dr Walker. ‘We are urging everyone who thinks it’s unfair to join our Stop Unfair Asthma Prescription Charges campaign and sign our petition to urge the Government to remove prescription charges for people with asthma.’