Medicines: How known is the expiry date for prescriptions?

Medicines: How known is the expiry date for prescriptions?

When they hand in the pink slip at the pharmacy, some health insurance patients get an unexpected answer: Unfortunately, the prescription is too old. Could more clarity avoid the extra effort that would then be necessary?

Yoghurts or chicken fillets are “expired” after a few days; medication packages say “use by”. And how long are prescriptions from your doctor valid? If it is not so acute, not everyone always has it ready that the pink slips can only be redeemed up to 28 days after they were issued.

If it’s later, you have to go back to the practice to get a new prescription. “This happens again and again in everyday pharmacy life,” says the Federal Association of German Pharmacists Associations (Abda). The e-prescription can provide a more precise reminder.

Theoretically, it could be clearer if there was some kind of expiry date on the forms. However, on the sample forms there is only one field for the date of issue. “Pharmacists are no longer allowed to supply prescriptions after their validity has expired, not even out of “goodwill” towards patients,” says an Abda spokeswoman. The 28-day period is intended to prevent medicines from only being collected and used when there is actually no longer any reason for them to be taken, explains the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Companies (GKV).

No data on the problem

The health insurance companies cannot determine from their data how often patients are stranded in pharmacies with prescriptions that are too old, as a GKV spokesman says. Therefore, when insured people get a new prescription in the practice, only the one-time dispensing of a drug appears in the pharmacy bills. There is no feedback from the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians that such multiple exhibitions are a major problem in practices. As a rule, patients would be interested in filling a prescription quickly because they need it.

In general, it is advisable to present prescriptions to a pharmacy as soon as they have been issued, according to Abda. Instead of pink slips, more electronic prescriptions will soon be used anyway. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) relies heavily on a redemption process in which you only insert your health insurance card into the pharmacy. There is also an e-prescription app. And this shows directly how long you can redeem a prescription with the health insurance company covering the costs, as the majority federally owned digital agency Gematik explains. The app then also shows how many days a prescription is still valid as a self-pay prescription at your own expense.

Source: Stern

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