Alaska Allows Electronic Prescriptions

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Alaska this week became the final state to allow physicians to send electronic drug prescriptions directly to pharmacists, the AP/Los Angeles Times reports. The move came after the state Board of Pharmacyreceived several requests from physicians and businesses, according toboard member Dick Holm. Electronic prescriptions can reduce the risk ofprescription filling errors because of illegible handwriting, and theyalso can reduce paperwork and help prevent forgeries. Drug Enforcement Agency regulations still require handwritten prescriptions for some controlled substances, such as OxyContin.

Nancy Davis, executive director of the Alaska Pharmacists Association,said that she supports electronic prescribing but that the cost ofimplementing e-prescribing systems could hurt some smaller, independentpharmacies. Physicians in the state will not be required to useelectronic prescriptions if they choose to continue using handwrittenprescriptions (Halpin, AP/Los Angeles Times, 8/17).
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