Prescription charges for medical card holders
The prescription charge is €1.50 for each item that is dispensed to you under the medical card scheme, up to a maximum of €15 per month per person or family.
For people aged over 70, the prescription charge is €1 per item, up to a maximum of €10 per month per person or family.
Before 1 November 2020, the charges were €0.50 higher, with a monthly limit of €20 (or €15 for over 70s).
If your pharmacy is aware of all your family members then you should not pay more than the maximum 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 the HSE website 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.