E-prescription: truth and myths about buying medicines by prescription from April 1
All prescription drugs in Ukraine will be sold by electronic prescription starting from April 1. We answer the most popular questions about e-prescription and debunk the most common myths
From April 1, 2023, in Ukraine, it will be possible to buy prescription drugs using electronic prescriptions. This change made a lot of noise on social networks and increased queues at pharmacies. We found out exactly what changes await Ukrainians and analyzed the most common myths.
What exactly will change in the procedure for buying medicines from April 1?
The Ministry of Health explained that 60% of medicines in Ukraine are prescription drugs. That is, now to purchase them, you need to have a paper prescription from a doctor and present it to the pharmacist at the pharmacy before making the purchase. From April 1, electronic prescriptions will be added to paper prescriptions.
That is, in fact, all these drugs have always been prescription drugs, it's just that many Ukrainians bought them without a prescription, and pharmacies dispensed them without proper control.
The list of prescription drugs was not further expanded, only an additional method of obtaining a prescription was introduced - digital. Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine and possible force majeure circumstances, such as power outages, paper prescriptions will continue to be valid. The patient will be able to choose independently which prescription is more convenient for him - electronic or paper.
In the future, with a full transition to an electronic prescription form, it will be easier to control the procedure for the sale of prescription drugs.
Importantly! It is possible to buy prescription drugs without a prescription in the territories where hostilities are active.
In addition, pharmacies across Ukraine will be able to sell prescription drugs without a prescription until the end of martial law. This is provided for by Cabinet of Ministers Resolution No. 542 of May 7, 2022, which is valid until the day martial law is lifted.
Which popular drugs are actually prescription medicines?
Prescription drugs are those that can be taken only as prescribed by a doctor, because they can have complex side effects, it is necessary to control their dosage, they are prescribed based on tests, etc.
• Antibiotics - electronic prescriptions for this group of drugs have been introduced since August 1, 2022. They are prescription, because they cannot be used for viral diseases. The doctor prescribes antibiotics based on tests and only when they are really needed. Uncontrolled use of antibiotics can lead to microorganisms adapting to the drugs and gaining the ability to survive, that is, antibiotics stop working and may not help when a person actually needs it.
• Hormonal drugs: birth control and emergency contraceptives. In its composition, this group of drugs has a large dose of hormones that can negatively affect a woman's body, so they should be used only under the supervision of a doctor.
• Anticonvulsants, because they affect the central nervous system, in particular the most popular Carbamazepine or Baclofen.
• Blood-thinning drugs can cause bleeding when used incorrectly - this is Clopidogrel, Rivaroxaban (Xarelto).
• Medicines against blood pressure and heart diseases. Corvalol and valocordin can be bought only in small bottles, and a prescription is required for a 50 ml bottle.
• Cough preparations with codeine, based on salbutamol, for inhalation - Codeterpin, Codefemol, etc.
• Certain painkillers - Ketanov, Tramadol. The popular Nimesil can also be included in this group, because it is actually an anti-inflammatory drug with an analgesic effect, and such drugs have serious side effects when used incorrectly.
• Anthelmintics (medicines against worms) are very toxic.
• Steroid drugs – Dexamethasone, Prednisolone, Methylprednisolone.
• Antihistamines for parenteral administration, i.e. in ampoules.
• Antidepressants, neuroleptics and relaxants.
What medicines can be bought without a prescription?
Almost all painkillers, antipyretics, antitussives, expectorants, antiallergics and most symptomatic drugs are available without a prescription: Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Analgin, Paracetamol, Spazmalgon, Citramon, lozenges for sore throat, local antiseptics, etc.
How do I know if a prescription is needed for a particular drug?
You can check this information in the instructions for the drug in the "Dispensing conditions" section. You can find the instructions on the pharmacy website or on the portal of the State Register of Medicinal Products of Ukraine.
Myths related to the launch of the E-prescription system
The head of the Committee on the Health of the Nation, Medical Aid and Medical Insurance, Mykhailo Radutsky, on the official Facebook page, gave answers to the most common questions that Ukrainians had in connection with the launch of the E-prescription system.
In particular, the official confirmed that prescription drugs were always dispensed as prescribed by a doctor. Since April, only a new, more convenient electronic tool - E-prescription - has been added. During martial law, drugs can be purchased both by paper and e-prescription. This innovation will not affect the work of volunteers, charitable organizations, units of the Armed Forces and military administrations. During martial law, you can get an E-prescription without a declaration from a family doctor, which is important for IDPs. Doctors will not prescribe only expensive drugs, because the e-prescription contains only the active substance. That is, the patient himself makes a decision about which drugs to buy according to the availability of funds. No additional changes will be introduced regarding the dispensing of medicines for animals.
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