§ Mr. Barry Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the current prescription charge as a percentage in real terms of the prescription charge in 1979.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
In real terms, the present prescription charge is 864 per cent. of the charge in 1979. At £4.25 it remains substantially less than the average total cost of a prescribed item to the national health service. Only one in five items dispensed by community pharmacists and appliance contractors now attracts a charge, compared with two in five in 1979.