Question: My doctor in Florida insists that all prescriptions be sent electronically to the pharmacy. I prefer to have a paper prescription in order to shop around for the best price. What can I do?
Answer: While most states have provisions allowing electronic prescribing, and some have extremely strict requirements mandating their use, all have exceptions that allow consumer choice. PharmacyChecker.com CEO Tod Cooperman, MD, wrote about this issue in an earlier blog post as it relates to electronic prescribing in the State of New York. But what about Florida?
Here’s the good news! Florida law states “electronic prescribing shall not interfere with a patient’s freedom to choose a pharmacy.”
The main reason that states have adopted rules to encourage electronic prescribing is to prevent the abuse of prescription narcotics, which is a national epidemic.
E-prescribing facilitates the integration of prescription records into the patient’s medical record, has the potential to minimize medication errors, and may even reduce prescription theft and forgery of controlled drugs. There are substantial benefits to e-prescribing.
However, the benefits of electronic prescribing need to be balanced with the patient’s freedom of choice and access to affordable medication, which for some patients means having a prescription in hand to shop around for the lowest price at local pharmacies or to send to an international online pharmacy.
So what can you do in Florida?
If your healthcare provider says they can’t give you a paper prescription, let them know the law is on your side. Explain that your choice of pharmacy is often based on the cost of the medication being prescribed, which means having a prescription in hand to shop around for the lowest price at local pharmacies or to send to safe international online pharmacies, which will require that valid paper prescription!
Tagged with: consumer choice, e-prescribing, Florida, legal