Irish Medicines Formulary Online
(IMF-Online) by Meridian Ireland


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Terminology in Ireland's Healthcare System

For health professionals newly arrived in Ireland (and for quite a few established practitioners!), the terminology used throughout the healthcare system can be confusing and a source of frustration. Scroll this page to see how using IMF-Online avoids "terminology trauma".

IMF-Online: providing health professionals with accurate medicines information to prescribe, dispense or administer with maximum efficacy and safety.

IMF-Online gives concise, relevant and accurate information. It is completely independent and free of any advertising or personal opinion; just the facts, clean medicines information.

Governance and Delivery of Healthcare in Ireland

Department of Health

The Department of Health is responsible for the strategic and financial management of healthcare in Ireland. It is headed by the Minister for Health, a member of the Cabinet in the presiding government.

HSE – Health Services Executive

The HSE is the executive body responsible for the delivery of public health services in in Ireland at both hospital and primary care level. Hospitals are divided into six regional services. There are ninety primary care networks. The CEO reports directly to the Minister for Health.

Reimbursement / Pricing of Medicines

PCRS – Primary Care Reimbursement Service

The PCRS supports delivery of primary healthcare in Ireland. It provides and manages reimbursement services (GMS, HT, LTI) to primary care contractors who provide publicly funded health services. Primary care contractors include General Practitioners, Community Pharmacies, Dentists and Optometrists/Ophthalmologists.

GMS Scheme – General Medical Services Scheme

This scheme applies to eligible medicines prescribed and dispensed for patients entitled to a Medical Card. A specific GMS prescription form is required  for GMS prescriptions. Eligible medicines are clearly highlighted in IMF-Online with GMS in the line of the brand name:


High Tech Scheme

This scheme applies to certain medicines initiated either in hospital or by a consultant. A specific High Tech prescription form is required for these prescriptions. In the community they are dispensed by a dedicated named pharmacy. Eligible medicines are clearly highlighted in IMF-Online with HT in the line of the brand name:


Reference Pricing

The Health Services Executive (HSE) sets one price that it will pay for a group of Interchangeable Medicines i.e. the Reference Price. This reference price is reimbursed for relevant interchangeable products unless informed by the Pharmacist that the GP has stated ‘Do not substitute’ in his/her own handwriting on any prescription presented for dispensing for any of the products in interchangeable groups.

Where a medicine from the list of interchangeable products has been prescribed, pharmacists are required to record how the doctor has written the prescription by noting whether the product was INN prescribed, Branded Generic prescribed, Proprietary prescribed or if ‘Do Not Substitute’ was included on the prescription.

In IMF-Online, the Reference Price is clearly stated before the list of available brands. Where a particular brand is not priced in line with the Reference Price, the price is listed; if the price is in line with the Reference price, then the price is listed as ‘see reference price’:


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