The community drug schemes, which are operated by the HSE on behalf of the State, assist citizens with ongoing expenditure on medicine costs. The main schemes are as follows.
The Drugs Payment Scheme (DPS) is a non-means tested scheme which is open to any person who is ordinarily resident in the State, regardless of illness. Under the scheme, no individual or family pays more than €124 a month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines. The scheme significantly reduces the cost burden for families and individuals with ongoing expenditure on medicines.
Medical card holders pay a prescription charge of €2.00 per item, with a monthly cap of €20.00. For medical card holders aged 70 and over, this charge is €1.50 per item, with a monthly cap of €15.00.
Under the Long Term Illness (LTI) Scheme, people with a specified condition receive drugs, medicines and medical and surgical appliances directly related to the treatment of their illness free of charge.
The Programme for Partnership Government contains a commitment to reduce the cost of medicines. In line with this commitment, I intend to consider proposals for further reductions in the DPS threshold and the prescription charge, in the context of the implementation of the health commitments in the Programme for Government and with regard to the funding available.