Passed by the NKF September 1997 (Amended 2008 AND Nov 2019)

It is the view of the National Kidney Federation that prescriptions without charge should be available to all renal patients. This view is based on the fact that medication is an essential part of renal therapy and non-provision of medication poses a very real threat to life.

Patients on low income must not be deterred from obtaining their medication.


The Department of Health has put on record that both haemodialysis patients and CAPD patients are entitled to free prescriptions based on the fact that such patients have ‘a permanent fistula or access requiring a continuous surgical dressing or an appliance’. In cases where dialysis is ‘a temporary measure pending a transplant, entitlement to free prescriptions depends on the doctor’s clinical judgement in the light of his knowledge of the patient and his medical condition.’ In spite of this, there have been reported instances of dialysis patients being refused exemption from prescription charges.

Currently there is no exemption for transplant patients unless they have another qualifying condition. The Federation’s current position is not to press for exemption to be extended to transplant patients as this may jeopardise the exemption granted to dialysis patients.

The Department has acknowledged that there are anomalies in the system.