Medical Card Prescription Charges

The Health (Amendment) (No 2) Act 2010 provides for the payment of a prescription charge by persons with full eligibility (GMS patients) dispensed by Community Pharmacies.

Community pharmacies are obliged by law to collect this prescription charge from you

The prescription charge is automatically deducted by the HSE from the pharmacy in respect of every medicine item dispensed under the scheme.

What are prescription charges?

From 1st December 2013, people with Medical Cards will pay a €2.50 charge for medicines and other items that they get on prescription from pharmacies.  The medical card prescription charge was first introduced in 2010.

How much is the prescription charge?

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. Once your pharmacy can identify all of your family members then you should not pay more than €25 per month. The HSE will continue to pay the rest of the cost of your medicine.

Prescription Charge - Persons aged 70 and over.

From 1st March 2017, the prescription charge for persons aged 70 years & over, and their dependents, will reduce from €2.50 to €2.00 per item.

The monthly family cap for prescription charges will decrease from €25.00 to €20.00 for persons aged 70 and over and their dependents..

What constitutes a ‘Family’ for the purpose of the €25 monthly maximum?

A family is you, your spouse / partner, any children under 16 years of age and any children between 16 and 21 years of age who are in full time education.

What if I or my family pays more than €25 in a month?

The HSE will issue refunds automatically every six months, based on the information received from your pharmacy.  However, you can avoid refunds altogether if you and your family visit a single pharmacy and your Pharmacist can identify all of your family members. 

The next refunds will be issued in February 2016. Refunds will issue for amounts in excess of €10. Refunds under €10 will be carried over to the next refund payment date.

If you have a query please contact 1890 252 919.

What if my Pharmacist does not know that my family members are all part of the same family?

You can set your family up as a family group here and print off a certificate (family certificate) to give to your Pharmacist. That certificate will show all of the members of your family and in that case the pharmacy will not collect charges above the monthly limit of €25.

What if I don’t have access to the internet to get the family certificate?

If no one in your family has access to the internet you can get assistance from your Local Health Office or call 1890-252-919 and we will take the details and send you the certificate.  Your local Pharmacist may also be in position to assist.  You will need to have the Medical Card number for each member of your family. 

Do all Medical Card holders pay the prescription charge?

There will be no prescription charge for Children in the care of the HSE who have their own Medical Card.  This includes children in care, foster care, foster care with relatives and other care placements. Carers responsible for children in care will pay the prescription charges to the pharmacy and claim a full refund from the HSE PCRS.

Persons living in emergency reception and orientation centers, provided under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, and administered by the Department of Justice and Equality, will not be liable for prescription charges.

What about Methadone?

There will be no prescription charge for Methadone supplied to a person under the Methadone Treatment Protocol.  These patients will pay prescription charges for any other items received under the Medical Card Scheme.

Is the prescription charge payable if I get a Medical Card prescription from a Registered Dentist or a Registered Nurse Prescriber?


What if I get prescriptions under other Schemes?

The prescription charge will not apply to items supplied under the Long Term Illness Scheme, the DPS (Drugs Payment Scheme) or private prescriptions.  The charge does not apply to people covered by the Health (Amendment) Act 1996.

What if I get different prescriptions on a weekly/daily basis?

You will pay the prescription charge for each item up to the maximum of €25 per month, per person or family.

What if my pharmacy fills my prescription at the start of the month but then gives me the medication each week (or even daily) i.e. phased dispensing?

You will only pay the prescription charge for the initial dispensing of the medicine/item.

What are the arrangements for the homeless?

Homeless persons living in a residential setting will have the charge paid on their behalf by the provider of the accommodation who will make the necessary arrangements for collection of the charge from the residents.

Homeless persons not living in a residential setting, and with their own medical card, will pay the prescription charge.

What if I am in a HSE Nursing Home or a Residential Disability Centre?

If you reside in a HSE Nursing Home or a Residential Disability Centre the provider of the accommodation will pay the charge on your behalf and will make the necessary arrangements for collection of the charge from you.

What if I am in a Private Nursing Home?

If you reside in a private Nursing Home your Pharmacist will discuss arrangements to collect prescription charges with the Nursing Home manager.

What about High Tech products/medicines?

As the supply of High Tech Medicines operates on the basis of a patient care fee, a prescription charge will not apply.

Where can I get more information?

For more information call 1890-252-919 Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.