Q: I would like to know if the following is permissible:
If you need more than 12 prescribed medicines each year, you could save money with a 12-month PPC.
You can also buy a three-month PPC, which will save you money if you need more than three prescribed medicines in three months.
The charge for a single prescribed medicine is £8.05, whereas a three-month PPC will cost you £29.10 and a 12-month PPC £104.00.
الجواب حامدا ومصليا ومنه الصدق والصواب
A: A prescription prepayment certificate [PPC] would appear to be a purchase of items that are unknown at the point of purchase and possibly even non-existent which would render the purchase as defective and even void. However, paying for a prescription is not, in reality, a simple case of purchase, as the payment [currently £8.05] bears no relationship to the cost of the prescribed medicine.
Quite often the actual cost of the medication is several times the cost of the prescription. Therefore, it is more correct to say that the cost of the prescription is quite often merely a contribution towards the cost of the medication with the balance being subsidised by the state. It is simply a mechanism to elicit a contribution from those individuals that can pay while the state provides free prescriptions to people that are of a certain age or income bracket or have certain health conditions.
Thus, a PPC may be seen as a contribution towards the state in return for the right to receive prescriptions without payment for a period of three or twelve months. As the nature of the scheme is more benevolent than compensatory, it would appear that the rules of simple sale may be relaxed and such scheme may be considered to be permissible.