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Pharmacy in Ireland
There are over 1,800 community pharmacies in the Republic of Ireland and with the typical person visiting a community pharmacy 19 times a year, pharmacists are the first port of call within the healthcare system.
Many people believe that a pharmacist’s job is just to dispense medicines. However, your local pharmacist does a great deal more than meets the eye.
Your pharmacist is a healthcare professional who can assist you with your health concerns quickly. They can offer you information about treatments, explanations on medication interactions and much more. They will also guide you to other health professionals or community services, if required.
Your pharmacist may offer a range of health services, such as blood pressure measurement, cholesterol testing, smoking cessation service and seasonal flu vaccination. Ask your pharmacist about the services they provide.
In the future, the IPU hopes that the role of the pharmacist will expand even further, such as the ability to prescribe for minor ailments. A Pharmacy-based Minor Ailment Scheme pilot is currently running in four towns around the country.
Click here to see what your pharmacist does when they receive a prescription.
You can speak to your pharmacist in private
Pharmacies are busy places so, if you want to talk to your pharmacist in private, you can use the private consultation area.
Your pharmacist is a healthcare professional. If you have any questions or concerns, ask your pharmacist first for advice.
Health Service Executive
The Health Service Executive manages the ‘General Medical Services’ (GMS) scheme, which helps to pay for your prescription medicines. There are several ways in which the Government in Ireland provides affordable medicines and makes them available.
Medical Card Scheme
The Medical Card Scheme provides free primary care, including free GP care, hospital services and medicines. The costs are taken on by the State and the scheme is means tested. However, there is a Prescription Levy of €2.50 per item on medicines, with a cap of €25 per month.
Drugs Payment Scheme (DPS)
The Drugs Payment Scheme (DPS) allows individuals and families who do not hold medical cards to limit the amount they have to spend on prescribed drugs. Under the DPS, no individual or family has to pay more than €144 in any calendar month for approved prescribed drugs, medicines and appliances.
Doctor Only cards is a means-tested scheme and will enable people to obtain free GP care while continuing to pay for their medication.
Over 70s Scheme
The Over 70s Scheme is means tested and anyone who is eligible and over the age of 70 does not have to pay for healthcare costs.
The High-Tech Scheme was introduced to facilitate the supply of certain medicines, e.g. those used in conjunction with chemotherapy, which had previously been supplied primarily in the hospital setting.
Long Term Illness (LTI) Scheme
The Long Term Illness (LTI) Scheme has been set up to provide access to medicines for persons who suffer from one or more chronic illnesses.
Ask your pharmacist
Ask your pharmacist for advice on your entitlements under these schemes.
How to become a pharmacist
Pharmacists are highly-qualified healthcare professionals. Pharmacists must complete extensive education and training, which includes a practical placement under the supervision of a pharmacist, before they can qualify. A new structure for pharmacy students was introduced in September 2015. Click here for further details.
There are three third-level colleges currently accredited by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) to deliver pharmacy degree courses:
As a practicing pharmacist in Ireland, you must be a member of the PSI. The PSI website provides comprehensive information on how to begin studying for pharmacy and how to become a registered pharmacist after graduating successfully