Drugs Payment Scheme

Drugs Payment Scheme

The Drugs Payment Scheme allows individuals and families who do not hold medical cards to limit the amount they have to spend on prescribed drugs. Under the Drugs Payment Scheme, no individual or family will have to pay more than €85 (limit as of Sept 2006) in any calendar month for approved prescribed drugs, medicines and appliances.

Family expenditure covers a nominated adult, their partner and children under 18 years. Dependants aged 1823 years who are in full-time education may also be included. A dependant with a physical or mental disability or illness who cannot look after themselves fully, who lives in the family home and who does not hold a current medical card, may also be included in the family expenditure under this scheme regardless of age.

All those who are ordinarily resident in Ireland are eligible to apply for the Drugs Payment Scheme as long as they do not hold a current medical card. You can use the drug payment scheme in conjunction with a Long Term Illness Book.

How to apply

Application forms for the Drugs Payment Scheme can be obtained from your local pharmacy or your local Health Office. Families should be registered by a nominated adult family member. The completed form should then be returned to your Local Health Office.

Once the registration form has been processed, each person named on the form will receive a plastic swipe card, which they must present when having prescriptions filled at a pharmacy. It is intended that pharmacists will be able to access a central database to confirm if the €85 limit has been reached by a family/individual in any calendar month.

When your Card expires, you must apply again to your Local Health Office to obtain a new card.

Reviewed: September 20, 2006


edel(MCZ18165) - 04/10/2004 16:21

i would like to renew my card. how do i do this???

Anonymous - 05/10/2004 16:37

Hiya! It depends on the reason why you want to renew your card. Usually the health board issues you with a new card if yours has expired (at least in the Mid Western Health Board). If it is because there a change in your circumstances e.g. a new baby or you have got married, then you get a form like you did Day 1 from your pharmacist. If it is because you are 23 and no longer on your parents' DPS Card, the health board should send you a letter with a form so that you can re-apply in your own right! Hope this helps!

Sunny - 26/06/2006 13:53

I lost my card. Can you please advise what I need to do?

Anonymous - 04/10/2006 21:00

Does this card cover me for an intraveneous drug I have to get every 6 weeks (Remicade), for Crohn's Disease?

gbhoy - 07/08/2007 23:14

i've overpaid on this scheme - i'd paid for a prescription and then my wife did before we realised it was 85 per family! how do i claim the money back...?

Anonymous - 22/01/2008 11:08

can i claim the excess of the 85 for drugs I purchased within a month for overseas innoculations. The chemist did not code the dockets so the hse wont allow it. Thanks

Anonymous - 08/02/2008 14:20

Where can I get a list of common (usually) nonprescription drugs - pain killers, skin care cream, shampoos etc. which can be obtained under this scheme if included on a prescription ?

Thomond - 09/02/2008 21:23

Anon of 08/02/08. Non prescription drugs are not covered under this scheme. Even some prescription drugs do not qualify. This scheme is really only for people (and their families) who have an ongoing need of expensive drugs which amount to more than 90 per month. If your prescription medicines are expensive ask your pharmacist for an application form and apply to the HSE for a DPS card. As far as lists are concerned, it is a movable feast with the HSE allowing and disallowing certain medicines from time to time. Once you present your prescription for dispensing your pharmacist can tell you if all the medicines on it qualify but don't forget that the cost has to be over 90 before the scheme kicks in.

Anonymous - 11/02/2008 11:17

Thomond . Your reply was both unhelpful and misleading. A partial list is available here: http://www.mccabespharmacy.com/index.php?page=28 what I wanted was a comprehensive list - not a denial!

Thomond - 11/02/2008 20:46

Anon. I don't know how my post is misleading. Maybe I am not up to speed on the scheme. All the information I have is that only prescribed medicines are eligible. Non-prescription medicines are not eligible. You say you have a partial list - you might let me know where I can get one.

Shay(LEL65996) - 12/02/2008 20:52

Thomond. A link to the list on McCabes Pharmacy's web site should have appeared on my last post - a blank line appears instead. Perhaps you can navigate to it from their home page: www.mccabespharmacy.com/ It does include non prescription or over-the-counter drugs, though they have to appear on a prescription to qualify. My medications would exceed 90 per month if it were not for this scheme. However my GP would not have the initiative to include such things as paracetamol, elulsifying ointment etc. Without this list I would not have known to ask him!

Thomond - 13/02/2008 18:55

Shay. Thanks for the info. I am intrigued at the idea of going to your GP with a shopping list. You say he hasn't the iniative to tell you about 'free' items on the DPS list. I am horrified that any GP would give a prescription on request for items that are not medically neceassary.

Shay(LEL65996) - 14/02/2008 12:24

Thomond. Neither do I know of any GP who would prescribe "medically unnecessary" items requested or not. However few consider the cost to their patients. Many prescribe costly branded medicines where cheaper generics are available. Most confine their prescriptions to "prescription only" drugs. However all the extra "over the counter" medicines that I use - even paracetamol- were prescribed by consultants. I am even more horrified that you can consider any one using "medically unnecessary" items - where did you get that idea from? - I mentioned neither "free" nor "unnecessary".

Thomond - 15/02/2008 22:02

Shay. What makes me think you were 'shopping' for items to include on your DPS bill was your original request for a list of items that can be prescribed. The correct procedure is for your GP to prescribe all the items that he/she feels are necessary for your treatment. On presentation of the prescription to your pharmacist he/she will tell you ( from a computer dispensing programme which is updated every month) what items you will have to pay for (you can decide not to purchase them). I fail to understand what your problem is with this system.

noname - 17/02/2008 22:09

hi all, I have a DPS card because I am on medication that would cost around 18,000 a year. I am wondering if anyone knows if my Partner would also be covered under my card? could anyone tell me the definition of family? another question is about payment, currently is 95 per month (95 * 12= 1140) but I pick my medication & pay every 4 weeks meaning I am paying 1282.50 (54/4=13.5, 33.5*95=1282.50) I tried to explaine this to the girl in the chemist, but she didn't understand me, to be fair I probably didn't explain it very clearly. I have heard of people paying on the first of the first of the month & picking up the next months medication on the last day of the month so they only pay 6 times a year. But, I don't want to abuse the system IMHO it's one that the healthboard got right & I am very greatful, but I still don't want to pay more than I have to. another abuse I have heard of is nicorette being prescribed & available on DPS & medical card, but I suppose thats a decision made by the healthboard. also afaik if you are required to take long term medication like pracetomal your DR can prescribe you a generic brand that is covered by the scheme, as it is prescribed (I could be wrong though)

Shay(LEL65996) - 18/02/2008 14:32

Thomond. My problem with the "system", outlined by you, is that it does not exist in the real world. My GP, in the main, prescribes only for the particular ailment presented to him on any visit and does not review all my medications on any visit - but then he is human, not a procedure bound automaton. I don't see anything wrong with taking an active role in my health care and equipping myself with the information available to do so. Your pre-pricing pharmacist has no relevance to anyone exceeding the DPS limit as (in accordance with the system's intention) they are not faced with such a dilemma.

Thomond - 18/02/2008 19:46

Noname. You are wrong about the number of payments in the year. Yes, you pay 12x 90 but you should get 13 prescriptions for that. There is one calender month in every year when you will have to get an extra prescription because of the 28 day pack. I can't understand why the pharmacy assistant could't tell you that. As for making only 6 payments in the year, if the HSE pick up on that in its computer system you will get a bill for the balance and there is the threat of having the card withdrawn for abusing its facility. As for your partner, it is quite legitimate to get a combined DPS number, provided you have the same address and thus make one payment in the month.

Thomond - 18/02/2008 19:58

Shay, I am getting tired of this correspondence because you change the argument in every post. Now you want to 'take an active role in my health care'. Very laudable. But the DPS was not designed for patients to decide what was to be prescribed. If you require a specialist shampoo and your GP considers it necessary he prescribes it. If you require pain-killers for some existing pain and your GP considers it necessary he will prescribe it. I don't see the problem if the system is used the way it is meant to. You take the prescription to your pharmacist and if having spent over 90 in the month, your prescription calls for a number of items maybe one of which is not allowed by the HSE to be supplied on the DPS scheme even if considered necessary by your GP. You then have the option of not taking the item or taking it and paying for it. The scheme was not designed for 'shopping basket' medicine supplies eg shampoos, pain-killers, face creams etc.

Shay(LEL65996) - 19/02/2008 13:03

Thomond. Insisting that I play no part in what my GP prescribes and inferring what is not implied in my posts is what has you tired. My initial request arose because when renewing my long term prescriptions for arthritis diabetes etc my GP included only the regularly used maintenance items omitting the items used only in acute outbreaks and completely forgetting my eczema. These items, although originally prescribed, I had for years purchased over the counter while my total bill was less than DPS limits. So both I and my GP succumbed to habit. However when I bought some of the eczema items in addition to the prescribed items the pharmacist said that I should ask my GP to include these on my prescription. Cooperation i.e. patient doctor and pharmacist working together, rather than burdening the GP with sole responsibility, makes for a better health.

cassie - 21/09/2009 11:58

all i want to know is which chemist are still taking this card as i am on asthma meds which are expensive and so is my nine year old son i live north co dublin.

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