Getting PrEP

PrEP—both brand-name Truvada and generic versions—is licensed and approved for use in Europe. That means doctors in Ireland can write a prescription for PrEP.

Unfortunately PrEP is not currently provided by the HSE in Ireland. This means the only way to get PrEP is to pay for the medication yourself. Currently there are two ways to do that in Ireland.

Purchase PrEP at your local pharmacy

Two companies, Teva and Mylan, are selling generic PrEP products ("Emtricitabine/Tenofovir Disoproxil") through community pharmacies in Ireland. This generic PrEP contains the same active ingredients as the original Truvada and is just as safe and effective.

These generic versions PrEP are usually priced between approximately €60 and €90 per bottle (30 pills). Different pharmacies charge different prices, so you may want to call around to find the best price.

To buy PrEP from a pharmacy in Ireland you need to take the following steps:

• Get the proper tests (see our Using PrEP page for details)
• Get a prescription for PrEP
• Find a local pharmacy that stocks PrEP
• Fill your prescription for PrEP

We suggest that you ask your doctor to write the prescription for the generic ingredients in PrEP: 'emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil'. Most doctors prescribe 3 months of PrEP on one prescription. You don't have to buy the entire 3 months at once. Your pharmacist will mark each month as it's dispensed so you can buy bottles one at a time.

You can find a list of pharmacies that stock generic PrEP in Ireland by clicking here, or on HIV Ireland's PrEP information page.

Purchase PrEP online

Although the generic PrEP being sold in Irish pharmacies is considerably less expensive than Truvada, it is still more than many can afford. We know that many PrEP users in Ireland will continue to purchase generics from online sources, which offer prices about 3 times lower than generic PrEP from an Irish pharmacy.

The UK-based website I Want PrEP Now provides information about ordering PrEP online, including a list of reliable online retailers. Most people in Ireland order PrEP from Dynamix International or Green Cross Pharmacy.

It is legal to order up to 3 months worth of medication for personal use and to have it delivered to an address in the UK (including Northern Ireland). It is legal to bring up to 3 months of prescription medication into Ireland for personal use if you carry it in personally. 

With that in mind you can follow these steps to buy PrEP online:

• Get the proper tests (see our Using PrEP page for details)
• Get a prescription for PrEP
• Order online for delivery
to a UK address
• Collect your PrEP in person
• Bring PrEP back to Ireland in the original, labelled bottles with a copy of your prescription

Some people may try to have their PrEP shipped or forwarded directly to an address in Ireland. Sending any medication by post or courier is against Irish law, so if Irish Customs intercepts a package they will seize it. While some packages may get through successfully, Irish Customs has increased surveillance and has seized at least several dozen shipments. Although you will not get into any trouble if your shipment is seized by Customs, they will not return it to you under any circumstances.

Why is online PrEP so cheap?

The generic PrEP sold online is produced for use in lower-income countries under special licenses. They are produced under supervision from the US FDA to ensure their quality.

Is the generic PrEP available online authentic?

Yes. There are no known instances of anyone ordering from a reliable source receiving anything but genuine PrEP.

When people started ordering generic PrEP online, medical authorities in the UK were concerned about the quality and authenticity of the medication. The 56 Dean Street clinic in London began offering a special kind of test testing—called “therapeutic drug monitoring” (TDM)— that measures the level of drug in a user’s blood. They performed hundreds of tests and found no evidence that the generic medications were anything but genuine.

Based on this testing, and our knowledge of where these drugs come from, we have no reason to doubt the authenticity of the drugs supplied by the vendors listed at I Want PrEP Now or from Green Cross Pharmacy.

Because getting PrEP online can take anywhere from a week to more than a month, we recommend that you re-order well in advance of when your current supply runs out. Regardless of when you run out or re-order, it’s important to get a new prescription and the follow up tests every three months.