Prescriptions in Armenia to become online as of Friday, people must go to pharmacies with passports. How will the system work?

February 28, 2024  11:48

Prescriptions are becoming online in Armenia, and the new changes come into force on Friday.

"At the moment, we are working with both online and paper versions. But after the relevant government decision, the writing of paper prescriptions will be excluded, only the online one will work," Deputy Minister of Health of Armenia, Artak Jumayan, told a press conference Wednesday.

"Within the framework of this pilot, more than 1.7 million prescriptions have already been prescribed only through centralized purchases, and about 600,000 prescriptions—under free and preferential conditions. These prescriptions were prescribed by primary care physicians. All polyclinics—urban, provincial, and rural outpatient clinics—are engaged in this system.

"As of March, we include antibiotic, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral drugs and immune serums, as well as vaccines," he added.

Addressing the question of how this system will work, Tsaghkanush Sargsyan, Head of E-Health Implementation Division of the National Institute of Health of Armenia, said: "The doctor will prescribe the medicine online, note the active substance of the medicine, the amount, the period, how many times a day, how to take the medicine, how many pills to take, after which the patient goes to the pharmacy. At the pharmacy, they search by the patient's name and see the prescription; that is, pharmacies do not have access to the prescription until the patient applies to them. The patient applies to the pharmacy, they find the prescription, the quantity is noted in the prescription—how much was dispensed, and the prescription is paid when all the quantities are dispensed. This means that the patient is not obligated to take all the drugs from one pharmacy at once, but can take the drugs in parts, and the prescription will be paid when the last pill is taken by the patient, or the prescription expires.

According to her, this system enables the pharmacies and the doctors to see the course of prescriptions.

"The doctor sees that the patient has approached, taken a certain number of prescriptions or received them in full, which previously could not be monitored. How many drugs were consumed? How many were dispensed? How many patients received the drugs? All of these registers will be accessible to the pharmacy, the doctor, and the medical institution.

With an online prescription, it will be possible to monitor the traceability, and if it is completely digitized over time, it will be possible to collect and get a complete picture of the drug—up to the patient, up to its side effects—that entered the [Armenian] republic, ," said Sargsyan.

According to her, if the patient does not show an identity document, it means that the pharmacy does not have the right to have access to that data because it has to do the identification itself.

"Instead of the patient, there can be a contact person. But he must also come with an identity document so that the pharmacy is sure that the medicine is given to the right person," she added.

When asked whether all pharmacies in Armenia are aware of this new system, Sargsyan responded that most of the companies conducting pharmaceutical activities in the country are already engaged in this system because they have contracts with medical institutions.

"For the rest of the pharmacies, awareness was carried out with all options. We have created a guide, sent [it] to them so they know what step to start with, how to access the system. Naturally, once we start, we will be in constant contact with them," she added.

This will be done through the Armed system, and therefore all pharmacies in Armenia must be included in this system.

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