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Recognition of pharmaceutical prescriptions across the European Union: A comparison of five Member States’ policies and practices.

San Miguel L, Augustin U, Busse R, Knai C, Rubert G, Sihvo S, Baeten R
Health Policy 116(2-3): 206-213 (DOI 10.1016/j.healthpol.2013.11.003)






In 2011, the EU Directive on Patients' Rights in Cross Border Healthcare was approved, including a regulation on mutual recognition of prescriptions.


To compare current national policies and practices on prescribing and dispensing, prescription-only medicines (POMs) in European countries in order to identify differences which could, challenge acceptance across borders.


Semi-structured interviews with 37 national stakeholders were carried out. Furthermore, data on policies for prescribing and dispensing POMs were gathered based on desk research, and, contacts with relevant authorities via a purposely designed questionnaire.


Important differences exist regarding: (1) information requirements for prescriptions to be, legally valid, (2) generic and international non-proprietary name (INN) policies and (3) professionals, legally allowed to prescribe POMs. Moreover, there is a lack of EU-wide access to key information for, validating prescriptions, recognizing the equivalence of products or identifying authorised prescribers.


Differences in legislation and its application across Europe pose important challenges to be, addressed by policy makers with appropriate actions: (1) a prescribed product may not be dispensed, to a patient who needs it, (2) an inappropriate product (or inappropriate instructions) could be, provided and (3) POMs could be dispensed and consumed or sold, based on false prescriptions.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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