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Prescription charges for medical card holders

Introduction

If you have a medical card, there is a charge for prescribed medicines and other items that you get on prescription from pharmacies. The prescription charge is €2.50 for each item that is dispensed to you under the medical card scheme, up to a maximum of €25 per month per person or family.

From 1 March 2017, the prescription charge for medical card holders over the age of 70 will be €2 per item and the monthly maximum will be €20.

Rules

Once your pharmacy can identify all of your family members then you should not pay more than €25 per month. A family is defined as you, your spouse or partner, any children under 16 years of age and any children between 16 and 21 years of age who are in full time education.

You can set your family up as a family group on medicalcard.ie and print off a family certificate to give to your pharmacist. This will show all of the members of your family so that the pharmacy will not collect charges above the monthly limit.

If you do not have access to the internet you can get assistance from your Local Health Office or call 1890 252 919 and they will take the details and send you the certificate. Your local pharmacist may also be able to help you. You will need to have the medical card number for each member of your family.

The prescription charges are eligible for tax relief for medical expenses.

Refunds if you pay more than the monthly limit

The Health Service Executive (HSE) issues refunds automatically every 6 months, based on the information received from your pharmacy. Refunds are issued for amounts over €10. Refunds under €10 are carried over to the next refund payment date.

You can avoid the need for a refund if you and your family visit the same pharmacy and your pharmacist can identify all of your family members.

If you have a question about refunds you can contact 1890 252 919.

Medical card holders who do not pay the prescription charge

Certain people and certain products are not liable for the prescription charge:

  • People who qualify for the Long Term Illness Scheme are entitled to get the drugs and medicines for the treatment of that illness free of charge.
  • People who have a Health Amendment Act Card are entitled to get approved prescribed drugs and medicines free of charge.
  • Children in the care of the HSE who have their own medical card. This includes children in residential care, foster care, foster care with relatives and other care placements.
  • Asylum seekers living in direct provision accommodation.
  • There is no charge for methadone supplied to patients participating in the Methadone Treatment Scheme.
  • High Tech products and medicines, usually only prescribed in hospitals, for example anti-rejection drugs for transplant patients or medicines used in conjunction with chemotherapy. As the supply of High Tech Medicines operates on the basis of a patient care fee, a prescription charge does not apply.

Page edited: 28 February 2017

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Contact Us

If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.