Know your rights: Prescription charges

I have a medical card but I seem to be paying more than the monthly cap for prescription charges for my family. Why would this happen and how can I get a refund?

If you have a medical card, you must pay a charge for each prescription item you get. Since1 November 2020, this prescription charge has been reduced from €2.00 to €1.50 per item, up to a maximum of €15 per month per person or family (previously, the maximum was €20 per month). If you are over 70, the charge is €1 per item up to a maximum of €10 per month.

Usually your pharmacy keeps records of how much you have paid in prescription charges and makes sure that you do not pay more than the limit each month. However, you may use different pharmacies in the same month, or your family members may not be set up as a family group, and you may end up paying more than the maximum.

If this happens, the Health Service Executive (HSE) will issue a refund. You don’t need to apply for it. This is done on the basis of the information from pharmacies. Refunds are issued every 6 months.

You can set up your family as a family group on medicalcard.ie and print off a family certificate to give to your pharmacist. This will show all of the members of your family so that your pharmacy will not collect charges above the monthly limit.

If you do not have access to the internet, you can ask your Local Health Office to help with setting up a family group. You can also call the HSE on 1890 252 919 or ask your local pharmacist, who may be able to help you. You can find out more about prescription charges for medical card holders on citizensinformation.ie


During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

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