Government regulators in the US are to allow highly addictive drugs like powerful painkillers to be prescribed online, in a move which could spread across the Atlantic.
Doctors are currently required to write out prescriptions for controlled substances by hand. These include attention-deficit disorder drugs like Shire Pharmaceuticals’ Adderall and painkillers like Cephalon’s Fentora.
The concern is that patients are more likely to abuse these treatments, and their prescriptions should be monitored more closely.
According to agency spokeswoman Rogene Waite, the US Drug Enforcement Agency will soon publish a proposal that would allow doctors to prescribe such drugs electronically.
Insurers and large employers like Wal-Mart have all lobbied to allow electronic prescribing of the controlled drugs. They argue that online prescriptions are an easy way to avoid deadly medication errors and reduce healthcare costs.
By paving the way for electronic prescribing of widely used controlled substances, experts expect that more doctors will be willing to embrace the technology.
Generic drugmakers like Barr Pharmaceuticals and prescribing software makers like Allscripts Healthcare Solutions are among the companies that have thrown their support behind the effort.
Copyright © PA Business 2008