Legal validity of prescriptions has been extended from six to twelve months

March 1, 2024

This change is being introduced following the Minister’s acceptance of a recommendation from the Expert Taskforce on the expansion of the role of pharmacists.

Under legislation published today, doctors and other prescribers may issue prescriptions that are valid for up to 12 months. In addition, from 1 September (i.e., six months after the introduction of the legislation), pharmacists can extend certain prescriptions that have been written for six months and continue to dispense them for a further six months. The decision on extending a prescription will be subject to the professional and clinical judgement of the pharmacist, who will consider the ongoing need for the medication, and whether the extension is in the best interest of the patient. It will apply to prescriptions dated on or after 1 March 2024.

The PSI have published information on their website for the public and pharmacists about the work of the Expert Taskforce and the implementation of the first recommendation. We are also developing updated guidelines to support pharmacists with the safe introduction of this change to their practice.

“We welcome the implementation of this recommendation of the Expert Taskforce as a first step in expanding the role of pharmacists in Ireland with the aim of improving patient access, streamlining healthcare delivery and contributing to better patient outcomes” 

Joanne Kissane, Registrar and Chief Officer, PSI - The Pharmacy Regulator and member of the Expert Taskforce.

“As experts in medicines, we are confident that pharmacists possess the knowledge and skills necessary to safely introduce this change into their practice. As the pharmacy regulator, the PSI protects the health, safety and wellbeing of patients and the public by regulating pharmacists and pharmacies in Ireland. As part of our remit to ensure the public has access to trusted pharmacy services, we will play our part in ensuring pharmacists are clear about what is required when making decisions to extend prescriptions by providing relevant information, guidance and supports.”

The PSI is an active member of the Expert Taskforce established by the Minister for Health to support the expansion of the role of pharmacy. The Taskforce is made up of 13 members with specific expertise, perspective and competence in pharmacy education and practice, healthcare policy and delivery, and other related disciplines. Set up in July 2023, the Taskforce is continuing to meet fortnightly and is advising on a comprehensive approach to empower pharmacists to prescribe within their scope of practice.