All doctors working for Greece’s main healthcare fund will have to issue patient’s medicine prescriptions through an electronic system set up earlier this year, the Health Ministry has decided.
During a meeting between officials from the National Organization for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY), social security funds and Alternate Health Minister Marios Salmas, it was agreed that all of the fund’s doctors would have to be in a position to use the e-prescription system by next month.
At the moment, it is estimated that between 20 and 40 percent of EOPPY doctors do not enter the prescriptions they issue into the electronic system due to lack of equipment or Internet connection problems. The law paving the way for the e-prescription scheme included a provision for doctors to be fined 1 euro for each prescription not issued electronically but this penalty has not been enforced.
It was also decided during yesterday’s meeting that EOPYY would be responsible for checking electronic prescriptions and collecting the relevant data on a daily basis. Salmas also asked the social security funds to pass on to EOPYY the registers of all the people insured in order to ascertain what level of coverage each patient is entitled to.
The e-prescription system is said to be able to handle 8 million prescriptions per month. At the moment, about 5 million are entered. The government is hoping that better recording and monitoring of the drugs that are prescribed by doctors will cut out the liberal use of their prescription pads and prevent pharmacists profiting from too many medicines being supplied to patients.
The coalition government is also hoping to avoid a confrontation with pharmacists by settling outstanding bills for drugs they have sold on credit to customers insured with EOPYY. Pharmacists have not yet been paid for May’s prescriptions, They are expecting to receive by early next week 90 of the 207 million euros they are owed in total. The remaining money is due by August 15.