THE PATIENT MOBILITY DIRECTIVE AND THE MUTUAL RECOGNITION OF PRESCRIPTIONS IN THE EU: A CAUSE FOR CONCERN FOR PATIENTS AND PHARMACISTS ALIKE?
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The law on mutual recognition of prescriptions in the EU has been codified in two recent EU Directives, the Patient Mobility Directive, and the Implementing Directive. The objective is to improve access to medicines abroad benefitting, amongst others, patients with chronic diseases wishing to travel to another country and patients with rare diseases where the best expertise can often be found across a border. There are challenges for patient safety due to the increased risk of dispensing errors. These challenges concern the identification of the prescriber and the prescribed medicines. There are also difficulties in the comprehensibility of prescriptions due to the different languages, drug names and abbreviations used in the EU. Although the Directives suggest the use of international non-proprietary names to reduce drug mistakes, this is not obligatory. With dispensing errors by pharmacists in England currently a criminal offence it is likely that pharmacists will hesitate dispensing cross-border prescriptions thus reducing the impact of the Directives.
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