E-prescription system suffers new delay

Greece?s electronic prescription system, designed to cut down on waste and corruption, is to be relaunched on Tuesday after it ran into more problems on Monday.

The system was taken offline last week due to complications but a within hours of being accessible to doctors and pharmacists on Monday, it crashed again.

The Computer Center for Social Security Services (IDIKA), which oversees the e-prescription scheme, said last week that the problems were the result of the contractor not providing adequate technical assistance. IDIKA said that the system would remain offline until Sunday.

IDIKA?s managing director Vlassis Sfyroeras told Kathimerini on Monday that several upgrades have been made to the software and that doctors had been sent detailed instructions about how to record entries on the system.

So far, 38,000 doctors and 10,800 pharmacies had been using the system to record an average of 140,000 prescriptions a day. The drugs recorded via the e-prescription scheme each day were worth about 6.6 million euros.

Sfyroeras said the improved system could handle up to 8 million prescriptions per month. Currently, about 5 million prescriptions are issued each month. The government is hoping that better recording and monitoring of the drugs that are prescribed by doctors will cut out the liberal use of their prescription pads and prevent pharmacists profiting from too many medicines being supplied to patients.

The electronic prescription scheme has been plagued by problems since its launch. Last month, it was the subject of an attack by hackers. Doctors were unable to use the system after hackers managed to block the online service by uploading about 1.5 million fake prescriptions.

Meanwhile, pharmacists said on Monday they would stop issuing medicines on credit to customers insured with the National Organization for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY) because they are owed 250 million euros for drugs sold in March.