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HSE Schemes explained


Drug Payment Scheme

What is the Drugs Payment Scheme?

If you have a GP Visit Card or do not have a Medical Card you should apply for a Drugs Payment Scheme Card. Under the Drugs Payment Scheme, an individual or family in Ireland only has to pay a maximum amount monthly for approved prescribed drugs, medicines and certain appliances for use by that person or his or her family in that month. The amount is determined from time to time by the Minister for Health and Children and is currently €120.00.

This scheme is aimed at those who don’t have a Medical Card and normally have to pay the full cost of their medication. It also applies to those who have a GP Visit Card. Anyone ordinarily resident in Ireland can apply to join the scheme, regardless of family, financial circumstances or nationality. Being ordinarily resident in Ireland means that you have been living here for a minimum of one year or that you intend to live here for a minimum of one year.

The definition of a family for this Scheme, is an adult, their spouse, and any children under 18 years. Dependents over 18 years and under 23 years who are in full time education may also be included. Everyone ordinarily resident in Ireland without a Medical Card should have a Drugs Payment Scheme Card.

How Much do I Pay?

You will not pay more than a specified amount for all your prescribed approved medication each calendar month. This maximum amount is subject to review by the Government from time to time. You must present your card each time you attend the pharmacy before a prescription can be dispensed. For details of the maximum amount please refer to the Drugs Payment Scheme and Medical Card rates leaflet. There are a number of items that legally do not require a prescription but for inclusion under the scheme they do require a doctor’s prescription.

How do I Qualify?

You must be ordinarily resident in Ireland and hold a PPSN. There is no means test for the Drugs Payment Scheme.

How do I Apply?

You can get a registration form from your pharmacy or Local Health Office. At present it is not possibe to download an application form but we will post you a form if you wish to contact us.

Fill in the details of all your family members. Send it to your Local Health Office and you will be sent a card for each member of your family. You must present your card each time you attend the pharmacy before a prescription can be dispensed. You do not have to register with a particular Pharmacy for the scheme but for convenience it is advisable to use the same pharmacy in a particular month if you wish to avoid paying more than the maximum amount per month.

Where people need to use two or more pharmacies in one month, they can claim back the amount paid over the threshold from their Local Health Office.

If you lose or misplace your Drugs Payment Scheme Card, contact your Local Health Office for more information.

For more information on the Drugs Payment Scheme contact you local HSE office or visit www.hse.ie



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