You are here: Home > Health > Entitlement to health services > Drugs Payment Scheme

Drugs Payment Scheme


Under the Drugs Payment Scheme you have to pay a maximum of €144 a month for approved prescribed drugs, medicines and certain appliances for use by yourself and your family in that month. If a reference price has been set for drugs you are prescribed, this is the price that the HSE will use to calculate your monthly drugs costs.

In order to qualify for this scheme, you must be ordinarily resident in Ireland.

The scheme covers the person who applied, his or her spouse/partner and children under 18 years or under 23 if in full-time education. A dependant with a physical or mental disability/illness living in the household who does not have a Medical Card and who is unable to fully maintain himself/herself, may be included in the family expenditure regardless of age.

When you register for the scheme, your Local Health Office will issue a plastic swipe card for each person named on the registration form. You should present this card whenever you are having prescriptions filled.

Further information is available from your Local Health Office.

Using the card

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 €144. 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.

You can use the Drugs Payment Scheme along with a Long Term Illness Book.

Expired Drugs Payment Scheme Cards

Drugs Payment Scheme Cards are issued for a limited time (generally 5 years). When your Card expires, you must apply again to obtain a new card. You can get the forms from your local pharmacy or from your Local Health Office.

Lost or stolen Drugs Payment Scheme Cards

If your Drugs Payment Scheme Card is lost, stolen or damaged, you should contact your Local Health Office.

How to apply

The registration form is available from pharmacies or from your Local Health Office. You can also download the DPS application form (pdf) . If you have any difficulties in completing the form, staff in your local pharmacy or Local Health Office will be happy to provide advice and assistance.

Send the completed application to your Local Health Office.

Your application for a new Card can take up to 4 weeks to process. If you have any qualifying expenses during this time, keep your receipts until you receive your Card, then send the receipts to the Drugs Payments Scheme Division of your Local Health Office with a covering note.
Page updated: 29 October 2013



Related Documents

  • Prescribed drugs and medicines
    Irish residents are entitled to either free or subsidised approved prescribed drugs and medicines and certain medical and surgical aids and appliances.
  • Long Term Illness Scheme
    The scheme covers free drugs and medical appliances for the treatment of specific long term illnesses and conditions.
  • GP and pharmacy services - introduction
    Family doctors (GPs) and pharmacies provide a range of services to citizens. Introduction and overview of services.

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.