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Drug Payment Scheme in Ireland

This is a scheme aimed at those people who do not have an Irish Medical Card and normally have to pay the full cost of their medication.

Under the scheme, you have to pay a maximum of €144 per month (correct as of January 2013) for approved prescribed drugs, medicines and certain appliances for use by yourself and your family within that month.

You can use the drug payment scheme in conjunction with a Long Term Illness Book.

Who can apply?

Anyone who is ordinarily resident in Ireland, with a PPS number and does not already hold a Medical Card. This is NOT a means-tested benefit.

If you have a GP Visit Card you should apply for a Drugs Payment Scheme Card.

Which family members are covered?

The Drugs Payment Scheme Card applicant, his/her spouse and any children under 18. Dependent children aged between 18-23 and are in full-time education are also included.

How to apply

Get a Drugs Payment Scheme Application Form from:

in English
as Gaeilge

How to use the card

Once your application has been processed, you will be issued with a plastic swipe card for each person named on the application. This must be presented 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. Your pharmacy will keep a running total of the amount you pay for prescriptions and stop charging you once you have hit the €144 mark. It is advisable to remain with the same pharmacy for each calendar month to ensure the total is kept accurately up-to-date.

If you attend more than one pharmacy in any one calendar month, you will have to pay out of pocket at the second and subsequent pharmacies and then claim the excess money back.

Refunds and/or Overpayments

Where you need to use 2 or more pharmacies in a month, you can claim back the amount paid over the threshold from your Local Health Office

Send your receipt(s) and a completed DPS Refund Claim Form (DPSR1) to:

DPS Refunds,
PO Box 12012,
Dublin 11


If you have a specific query that is not covered by the general information provided both on this webpage and in the links below, then you can use the HSE query form for advice.

Alternatively you can use the Callsave number: 1890-252-919.

Cross-border issues

Prescriptions written in Northern Ireland, e.g. for private treatment, may be allowable under the DPS provided that the drugs are on the approved list. It’s important to check with the Primary Care Reimbursement Service beforehand

See also

HSE: Your Guide to Drugs Payment Scheme

Citizens Information: Drugs Payment Scheme

DEBRA Ireland: Drugs Payment Scheme [PDF]

Border PeopleCross-Border Prescriptions and Pharmacies

Page last checked: February 2016

This webpage is for general information purposes only and while we endeavour to keep it up-to-date, errors may occur.  It is very important that you check with the relevant body to ensure the information is current and is applicable to your situation: – North /  South

If you would like to suggest amendments or highlight new information that could be useful to others please don’t hesitate to get in touch.