Prescriptions for patients in England will now cost £7.85 - but in other parts of the UK they are free.
Pensioners, children, pregnant women, cancer patients and some patients with long-term conditions such as diabetes are exempt from payment.
But the British Medical Association has previously said England should follow in the footsteps of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland and make prescriptions free for everyone.
The British Heart Foundation said that increasing the cost of essential medicines will cause people financial stress when they should be concerned about their health.
Maura Gillespie, head of policy and advocacy at the charity, said: "In this tough economic climate, many people are feeling the pinch and trying to cut back on everyday costs.
"But for heart patients, their 'everyday costs' include the vital drugs which keep them alive and, as of today, prescription charges are set to rise again.
"In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, prescriptions are free for people living with long term medical conditions. Yet, in England, heart patients are left to worry over the growing financial burden of expensive medications. Upping the cost of essential meds will cause people stress over their finances, at a time when they need to focus on their health."
"In England, around 90% of prescription items are dispensed free. We have also frozen the price of prescription pre-payment certificates for a further year, benefiting those who need multiple items. This means anyone who needs 14 or more prescription items in a year can get all the prescriptions they need for an average cost of £2 per week."