Milleproroghe 2023, news for electronic prescription: what changes

The validity of the document in electronic format has been extended

With the Milleproroghe decree, the use of the electronic prescription is extended until 31 December 2024. Introduced by the government in March 2020 to limit travel during the Covid-19 pandemic emergency, the measure allows doctors in the country to send medical prescriptions by e-mail for specialist examinations and to purchase medicines in pharmacies.

The latest Milleproroghe decree, which came into force on 29 December 2022, had extended the use of the electronic prescription until the end of 2023. Now this possibility is further extended until the end of 2024.

“It is good news, but it is clear that this time must be used to define a structural solution”. In other words, “the health card alone should be enough for the citizen to collect the medicines prescribed by his doctor in the pharmacy or to undergo an examination. As already happens, for example, in Veneto and Piedmont”, Silvestro Scotti, general secretary of the Federation of General Practitioners (Fimmg). “A sustainable choice also from an environmental point of view, which makes it possible to eliminate paper and toner, in a truly ‘One Health’ perspective”.

This simplification, as evidenced by regional experiences, “can be done when the citizen can activate the health file. Once activated, in fact, all the health activities relating to the individual patient enter a database, including the prescriptions of the doctors of family, both in terms of diagnostics and pharmaceuticals. Just present your card to the pharmacist or diagnostic center. This is the goal we must achieve, making the best use of the time that the extension offers”.

The way to a definitive solution, therefore, “is the health card, without circulating more prints, not even those that today the pharmacist has to do for bureaucratic obligations. And it would also be an important answer for the ecological transition, because it means lower costs, less paper, fewer trees cut down, less toner, less environmental pollution. All this through an already tested digital process, active in various Regions since before Covid”, concludes Scotti who reiterates the invitation to the Regions to “use the time that grants us the extension”.

According to the president of the Federation of Orders of Italian pharmacists (Fofi), Andrea Mandelli, “the electronic prescription has significantly accelerated the process of digitizing drug dispensing. The decision to extend its use until the end of 2024 can only see us fully in favour”. “The ability to receive medical prescriptions via email or on a smartphone has greatly simplified access to treatment for patients – recalls Mandelli – And if all this has been possible, it is due to the professionalism of the pharmacists who, with great promptness and ability to adapt also in terms of technological equipment, have made possible a change that was not obvious: the transformation of an e-mail or a text message into a health service”.

“Only thanks to the commitment of the 5 Star Movement have important summaries been obtained on some amendments to article 4 on the subject of health, fortunately approved. I am referring to the extension of the use of the dematerialized prescription until 2025”, underlines in a note Mariolina Castellone (M5S), vice president of the Senate and member of the Budget Commission of Palazzo Madama which is examining the Milleproroghe.