Under the Drugs Payment Scheme you 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 the 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. 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 scheme covers the person who applied, his or her spouse/partner, and children aged under 18 (or under 23 if in full-time education). A dependant who is living in the household and has a physical or mental disability or illness and 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.
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.
If you pay over the maximum, for example because you need to use two or more pharmacies in one month, you can apply for a refund of the amount above the threshold.
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.
The application form is available from pharmacies or from your Local Health Office. You can also download the Drug Payment Scheme application form (pdf). If you have any difficulties in completing the form, staff in your local pharmacy or Local Health Office can provide advice and assistance.
Send the completed application to your Local Health Office.
Further information is available from your Local Health Office.
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.