AS temperatures plummet and with winter upon us, more than two million people with asthma in England could be at risk of having a life-threatening asthma attack, triggered by cold weather.

The best way for them to combat this is to take their life-saving preventative medicine but our research shows that worryingly three quarters of people with asthma are not able to afford their medicine.

In fact, we estimate that hundreds of thousands of people are having asthma attacks because they are cutting back on their medication because of the cost of prescriptions.

Some are even having to make an impossible choice this winter: pay for bills, such as heating their homes to stay warm or pay for their asthma medication.

At Asthma UK, we think this is unacceptable. No one should have to pay to breathe. We have been campaigning to end unfair asthma prescription charges, which for some people could add up to more than £100 per year. We think medication for people with asthma should be free as it is for other conditions such as diabetes and epilepsy and as it is for people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Asthma is serious and three people die from an asthma attack every day. As a GP, it is very distressing to see patients with asthma putting their lives at risk and not taking their medication because they simply can’t afford it. But with a general election just a few weeks away, there is a chance to change things for the better by signing Asthma UK’s letter to your local election candidates in all parties, asking them to pledge to end unfair prescriptions if they win the election.

It will only take you a minute but it could save lives:

Dr Andy Whittamore

Clinical Lead and practising GP

Asthma UK