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How to apply for the Drug Payment Scheme

May 7th, 2023 2:30 PM

How to apply for the Drug Payment Scheme Image
Appliances covered by the scheme include a positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine and rental costs for oxygen. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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UNDER the Drugs Payment Scheme, you and your family only have to pay a maximum of €80 each month for approved prescribed drugs and medicines, and certain appliances.

Who can apply for the scheme?

You must be living in Ireland and intend to live here for a minimum of one year (ordinarily resident).

If you have a medical card you should have reduced prescription charges and so you are not eligible for the Drug Payment Scheme.

The scheme is based on the monthly cost of prescription drugs, medicines and certain appliances for you and:

  • Your spouse or partner
  • Your children if they are aged under 18 (or under 23 if in full-time education)
  • A family member with a physical or intellectual disability or mental illness who cannot maintain themselves fully. You need to include a medical report for the family member who cannot maintain themselves.


How does the scheme work?

After you register for the scheme, you will get a plastic swipe card for each person named on the registration form. You should show this card whenever you collect your medication or appliances from the pharmacy.

The HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Service provides a list of medicines or aids provided under the Drugs Payment Scheme. Appliances covered include positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine and rental costs for oxygen.

If a reference price has been set for the drugs you are prescribed, the HSE uses this price to calculate your monthly drugs costs.

Do I have to register with a specific pharmacy to avail of the scheme?

You do not have to register with a pharmacy for the scheme. However, you should use the same pharmacy in a month to avoid paying more than the maximum €80.

How do I claim a refund for amounts over the threshold?

If you use two or more pharmacies in one month you may spend over the maximum threshold of €80. If this happens you can then apply for a refund of the amount you spent above the €80 threshold.

To apply for a refund you should complete the refund claim form which you can get from your local Citizens Information Centre or Local Health Office, or call 0818 22 44 78. Post the completed claim form to the address given on the form. You can check the status of your application for a refund at

Do Drug Payment Scheme Cards have an expiry date?

Your Drugs Payment Scheme Card lasts only for a limited time. The expiry date will be printed on your card. You can also check on the HSE website if your card is still valid. When your card expires, you will need to need to apply again. 

If your Drugs Payment Scheme Card is lost, stolen or damaged, you should report it to your local health centre.

How to apply for the Drugs Payment Scheme?

There are a number of ways to apply for this scheme.
You can apply for the Drugs Payment Scheme online at Alternatively, you can apply by post. To apply by post, you can get a form by calling 0818 22 44 78 (LoCall) or you can download it from the HSE website. 

You can also get a form from your local Citizens Information Centre or from your Local Health Office

What information and proof do I need to have before applying?

To fill out your Drug Payments Scheme Application Form, you need the following:

  • The PPS numbers for you and your spouse or partner and eligible children
  • The full name, address, gender, date of birth and contact details of you and relevant family members
  • Proof you are ordinarily resident in Ireland such as a current electricity bill
  • Proof your child is in full-time education if they are aged 18-23. Your child’s school or university must fill in this section and provide a stamp.


For further information call a member of the local Citizens Information Service in West Cork on 0818 07 8390. They will be happy to assist you and if necessary arrange an appointment for you. The offices are staffed from 10am-5pm from Monday to Thursday and on Friday from 10am-4pm. 

Alternatively you can email [email protected] or log on to

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