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Generic Prescribing Policy 


Medication will be prescribed generically, meaning the active ingredient not the brand of medication, in keeping with best practice.

This allows the pharmacist to choose the optimal brand of drug that is available and that contains the correct active ingredient.

For patients receiving medicines under the medical card scheme this will mean the pharmacist chooses the brand that has been approved by the HSE.

Doctors may only prescribe a particular brand of medication in the rare cases where there is a specific recognised medical reason that a patient cannot tolerate another brand of medication.

Your pharmacist can advise further on your options regarding the purchase of particular brands of medicine.



In 2013 legislation was passed that controls for the prescribing of medication in keeping with international best standards. This places certain requirements on pharmacists and doctors regarding the appropriate prescribing of medication. Accordingly where 2 brands of medication are available, each containing the same active ingredient, the pharmacists will dispense the medication that has been agreed with the HSE.


Doctors have a responsibility to prescribe the appropriate medication, specifying the active ingredient where possible. The legislation allows doctors to specify a particular brand only where there is a proven and documented medical issue with one brand of medication. However it is in fact very rare that this is necessary as the medication chosen by the pharmacist will always ensure that there is the same active ingredient provided to the patient.

For more information please speak to your pharmacist or visit the HSE website.

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