Irish Medicines Formulary (IMF)

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Loum Doctors in Ireland

There are always opportunities for GPs considering locum work in Ireland. Whether newly qualified and starting out in general practice or non-Irish doctors looking to visit Ireland and find work, the Irish primary care setting always has vacancies. But there are challenges...

The Irish healthcare system can be complex, even for those presently in practice! One area where this is obvious is the area of medicines. With over 10,000 presentations licensed and marketed, choosing the best medication for a patient can be difficult. An Irish Medicines Formulary (IMF) book helps - it helps a lot!

IMF is the only independent (no advertising or spin), fully-complete (includes ALL medicines, brands and generics) and Ireland-specific drug reference. It also includes Medical Devices, Oral Nutritional Supplements, the official Childhood Immunisation Schedule for Ireland and Antimicrobial Prescribing Guidelines for Primary Care in Ireland. As well as the prescribing and safety information for each drug, IMF brings clarity to reimbursement and pricing of medicines. This practical information can dictate which prescription form must be used when issuing a valid prescription...

There are many reimbursement schemes operating today in Ireland. They are managed by the Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) and include the GMS scheme, the High-Tech scheme, the Long-Term Illness scheme (LTI) and the Drug Payment Scheme (DPS). Prescriptions for medicines reimbursed under the Hi-Tech scheme need to be written on a dedicated High-Tech prescription/form. Naturally, medicines in Ireland are priced in Euro and an Irish-specific drug reference like IMF is essential to having the correct information.

A recent aspect of the Irish healthcare system is the flood of generics and, a feature specific to Ireland, branded-generics. The latter class of medicines tend to be marketed only within Ireland and when doctors need details for such medicines, only an IMF book supplies the information. The introduction of Reference Pricing and Generic Substitution ("Interchangeability"), all details of which are included in IMF, poses even more challenges for professionals.

There is the possibility that locum doctors can find drug information online but that will mean chasing around the internet to a whole lot of different websites and perhaps not instilling confidence in the waiting patient. To open a tin of beans, a can opener is not essential, you could use a hammer and nail, but the can opener makes sense: to navigate medicines in Ireland, an IMF book makes perfect sense.