Your Guide to the Drugs Payment Scheme

What is the Drugs Payment Scheme?

Under the Drugs Payment Scheme, an individual or family in Ireland only has to pay €144 each month for approved prescribed drugs, medicines or rental costs for CPAP/oxygen, 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. If you have a GP Visit Card or do not have a Medical Card you should apply for a Drugs Payment Scheme Card.

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 or partner, 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 do I join the Scheme?

Click on the links on this page to download the application form in english or irish,or get a form from your pharmacy or Local Health Office. 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.

How Much do I pay under the Scheme?

Please ensure that you present your DPS card to your pharmacist, each time items are being dispensed to you. 

You will not pay more than €144 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.

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.

Do I have to be registered under the Drugs Payment Scheme to claim a refund?

Yes, patients must be registered under the Drugs Payment Scheme.  Application forms are available at your Community Health Organisations (Local Office) or on this website.

How to apply for a refund.

If you or your family have paid more than €144 in more than one pharmacy on prescribed drugs or approved appliances, you can complete the refund form (DPSRI) and submit the completed form to:

DPS Refunds, PO Box 12012, Dublin 11

You may be entitled to a refund if

(a)  If you or your family have opted to use more than one pharmacy and have paid in excess of the Drugs Payment Scheme monthly payment. 

Note: In this circumstance you claim should be labeled "DPS Refunds - Community Pharmacy".

(b)  If you or your family have received items from your community pharmacy and/or approved items from an approved service provider, other than a community pharmacy, i.e. rental costs for CPAP/Oxygen.

Note: In this circumstance your claim should be accompanied by a confirmation receipt to a community pharmacy and a copy of the supplier's invoice and labelled "DPS Refund - All Services".

The HSE/PCRS will process your claim based on the information you provide from your pharmacy.  Refunds will be paid at the approved HSE Drugs Payment Scheme (DPS) prices as reimbursed to pharmacists by the HSE.  Prescription claim forms/forms for the items dispensed from your pharmacies must be attached to your claim.

You can also download check the status of a refund you have submitted by clicking here

If I lose my card, how do I get a replacement card?

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