Recent changes to the Drug Payment Scheme (DPS), along with global supply shortages of certain medicines have reduced the availability of some oral and topical medicines commonly prescribed for dermatology patients.
Read on to learn more, including about the Discretionary Hardship Scheme, which may be an option for some people.
What is the Drugs Payment Scheme (DPS)?
The DPS is a non-means tested system which provides for reimbursement of approved prescribed medicines and equipment.
Reducing the cost burden for families
Under this scheme the cost burden for a family with ongoing expenditure on medicines is significantly reduced with a household not paying more than a set amount for their medicines each month. On 1 January 2022, the DPS threshold (the most a family might have to pay each month for everyone’s medicines) was reduced to €100 per month. On 1 March 2022, the DPS threshold was further reduced to €80 per month.
Recent changes affecting availability of some medicines
Changes to the scheme are published via the ‘HSE Updates to the List of Reimbursable Items’ report which is published on a monthly basis. These updates are applicable to both DPS and General Medical Services (GMS) Medical Card holders.
Over the past 12 months there have been a number of deletions of oral and topical medicines that are commonly prescribed to dermatology patients. In many cases an alternative product or preparation is available for reimbursement.
What is the Discretionary Hardship Scheme?
When an alternative product is not available, patients can apply for reimbursement of a product through their Pharmacy or Local Health Office under the Discretionary Hardship Scheme. Each individual application is assessed on a case-by-case basis.
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Current global supply shortages of certain medicines
In addition to changes to reimbursable items, patients may also be faced with the difficulty of accessing their prescribed medications and topical preparations due to current global supply shortages.
The Health Products Regulatory Authority in Ireland, (HPRA) publishes a useful, monthly update for Health Care Professionals on current shortages of medicinal products in Ireland and subsequent notifications when supply issues have been resolved.
Difficulty accessing your prescribed medications? Next steps…
If you have difficulty accessing your prescribed medications for either of the above reasons, please discuss this with your Dermatologist, GP, or local Pharmacist so that an alternative product can be sourced to prevent disruption to your treatment.
If you need guidance or support about managing a skin condition, contact the Irish Skin Foundation’s Ask-a-Nurse Helpline