Letter: The price of pain rises

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PRESCRIPTION and non-prescription medicines are a major cost for the eight million people whose arthritis is so severe it falls within the medical category of "chronic". The main symptom of arthritis is pain.

Contrary to popular belief most people with long-term chronic conditions are not exempt from prescription charges, unless they qualify on the grounds of age or low income. It is not unusual for a person with chronic arthritis to need a monthly prescription of six to eight items, so an increase of 15p per item adds up to an increase of pounds 1.05. It does of course make sense to obtain a pre-payment certificate - that's of course if you know they exist, and you have a spare pounds 30 (four monthly) or pounds 80 for a 12-month certificate.

At a time when many people with arthritis are their disability living allowance reduced or removed, the price of pain is certainly increasing.

JEAN ASHCROFT

Director of Policy, Arthritis Care

London NW1

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