Europe Edging Towards Electronic Prescribing - Pharmaceutical Technology

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Europe Edging Towards Electronic Prescribing
Electronic prescribing has grown strongly in the US but its future as a European-wide approach in healthcare has been uncertain; new regulatory interest could change the playing field.

Pharmaceutical Technology Europe
Volume 23, Issue 10

The pharma industry's point of view

Electronic prescribing has important implications for the pharmaceutical industry because it will represent a change in physician behaviour. Pharma companies will need to determine how this trend will affect the prescribing of their products and ensure they provide physicians with adequate support (9). To maintain relationships with physicians, companies will need to be seen as experts in the electronic prescribing field themselves. In the US market, pharmaceutical companies have had to adapt very quickly to changes in physician attitudes and assess the strategy of their sales representatives who interact with physicians. In 2007, only 6% of physicians were prescribing electronically, but by 2010 this had jumped to over 30% (6)—and financial incentives from the US government to drive uptake mean that this trend will increase.

In Europe, although there has been discussion of the issues around electronic prescribing, there are few obvious signs that the pharma industry is preparing for large-scale uptake. It is inevitable that it will be eventually adopted, but no timeline can be predicted at the moment. The EMA's workshop will provide important direction to those interested in the concept and provide an official framework for the field to develop. Based on these outcomes, the European pharmaceutical industry will need to rapidly adapt to the changing prescribing environment. However, its knowledge of markets where electronic prescribing has proved a success should provide suitable experience to deal with changes in the European healthcare environment.


1. EMA, "Software development companies invited to express interest in workshop on electronic prescribing", News Release (UK, 2011).

2. Whitener Law Firm, P.A, "Prescription mistakes" (US, 2011)., accessed 9 Sept. 2011.

3. E. Cohen, "Don't be a victim of pharmacy errors", CNN (2007)., accessed 9 Sept. 2011.

4. Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists, "Pharmacists EQUIP doctors with safety net when it comes to prescribing in hospital" (2009)., accessed 9 Sept. 2011.

5. PMR, "Czech e-prescription system paperless only in name" (2011)., accessed 9 Sept. 2011.

6. E. John. "Pharma must prepare for e-prescribing closeup", Medical, Marketing & media (2011)., accessed 9 Sept. 2011.


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