Martin Lewis reveals nine digit ‘secret code’ that can save YOU money on your prescriptions

  • Martin Lewis has revealed how you can save money on your prescriptions 
  • The cost of prescriptions are set to rise in England from the 1st of April this year
  • READ MORE: Pharmacists say ‘tax on sick’ should be axed in England

Martin Lewis has revealed how you can save money on your prescriptions as prices are set to rise from April 1st by looking out for nine numbers on the side of medicine boxes.

Speaking tonight on his ITV programme, The Martin Lewis Money Show, the money saving expert detailed important ways in which people can keep their prescription costs down. 

While prescriptions are free in the rest of the UK, they cost £9.35 per item in England and this is set to rise to £9.65 from April. 

The financial guru, 50, explained how you could be entitled to free prescriptions if you’re under 16 or over 60, in full-time education and 16-18 years old, you’re pregnant or gave birth in the last 12 months, and have a valid maternity exemption certificate. 

In addition, you can get a valid medical exemption certificate, known as a MedEx, for a range of illnesses such as epilepsy, or cancer, or severe disability. 

Speaking on his ITV1 programme, The Martin Lewis Money Show, the financial guru revealed how people in England can save money on their prescriptions and medication 

Martin continued that you are also exempt if you or your partner receive income support, pension credit guarantee credit, you’re receiving universal credit and your earnings for the most recent assessment period were £435 or less, you’re under 20 and are the dependant of someone who receives income support, etc.  

The money saving expert delved in further to explain how using a prepayment certificate in England could help save you money on your prescriptions. 

There are two options, either a three-month prepayment certificate or a 12-month one. 

Someone who gets two prescriptions each month for 12 months would save more than £100, compared with paying for individual prescriptions. 

For example, the team on Martin’s website have detailed how someone who pays for the prescriptions individually could be charged £231.60 over 12 months for two prescriptions a month, but if they get the prepayment certificate they would make a one-off payment of £111.60, from April 1st. 

He then revealed the ‘secret nine number code’ that could likewise save you money.

Martin said that there is a nine-character code printed on every box and that you can use this to guide you to a much cheaper off-brand alternative to a big name product and that in many cases you are ‘paying for the packaging’ with big name brands. 

Martin used an example of two packets of period pain painkillers that he bought on the same day to highlight how people are often paying more for the same exact product.

Martin explained to his viewers: ‘I have in front of me two packets that were bought today. They are both for period pains – painkillers. 

‘This one cost £5.29, this is £3.45. But if you look on the side of these boxes, the PL Code, the Product Licence code. 12063/0071. And… 12063/0071.

‘That doesn’t mean same active ingredient. That means these are exactly the same tablets. 

Commenting on the rising costs of prescriptions in England from April 1st, Martin Lewis explained how viewers should consider the active ingredients in medication. This could save them up to 70 per cent on their medication 

‘Exactly the same tablets. Same product licence, same tablets, totally different price. Just for the packaging.

‘So, when you’re buying medications, have a check if other things have the same PL code and they could well be substantially cheaper and it’s not the same active ingredient, it’s the same tablets.’ 

The 50-year-old financial guru also encouraged viewers to check the labels and active ingredients in the medicine they purchase as they could save as much as 70 per cent. 

Even if there’s not an identical medicine that’s cheaper, it’s often possible to save by shunning branded products and opting for an unbranded or own-brand equivalent. 

It’s a medicine’s ‘active’ ingredient that matters, said Martin,  the rest is largely irrelevant (unless you’ve certain allergies). 

He used the example of Nurofen to explain this. The active ingredient in Nurofen is ibuprofen, and while branded Nurofen could cost upwards of £4.99, own brand Nurofen can be purchased for less than £1. 

Martin said: ‘If you’re buying Nurofen the active ingredient, the active ingredient in it is ibuprofen, you can buy generic ibuprofen for far less than Nurofen, it does the same thing.’ 

However, Martin encouraged viewers to check the other ingredients and what the alternative tablets are coated in. 

He continued: ‘The only thing you have to watch for is whether it’s coated, or what the ingredients are if you’ve got an allergy or something like that and maybe the speed of operation. But the active underlying ingredient is the same.’

Last week the expert revealed how households can get £1,000 back on their council tax bills.

The money saving expert founder cautioned viewers as he issued step-by-step advice on when to challenge a council tax band, which could save people thousands of pounds.

As council taxes are set to rise in most parts of England in April by the limit of 5 per cent, he encouraged people to check whether they are in the wrong band.

In the past, local authorities were only allowed to raise their council tax by 2.99 per cent before the matter would have required a local vote.

However, some authorities have been found to increase their bills more than this – in some cases, by as much as 15 per cent, The Sun reported.

Council tax bands are based on the value of properties that would have sold for on the open market on 1 April 1991 in England and 1 April 2003 in Wales.

Therefore, the more expensive a property’s value is, the more the homeowner will be charged for their council tax.

The host of The Martin Lewis Money Show said that if a person’s council tax band is incorrect, then not only will they be paying less moving forward, but they can claim a refund on any overpayments made since first moving into the property.

Addressing the topic on his BBC Radio 5 Live, Mr Lewis shared his advice, explaining how council tax bands were created based on property values back in 1991, so numerous households could be on a different band today.

However, he also warned that residents could end up inadvertently landing themselves and their neighbours on a higher-paying band.

Beginning his advice, he said: ‘So, step number one. You need to compare the band you’re in with nearby similar or preferably identical homes’.

Those living in England and Wales can research and submit their challenge to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) through the government’s website.

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