The Ministry of Health & Wellness has sought the advice of the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) on the matter of the electronic transmission of prescriptions.
The AGC has advised that based on Regulation 20 of the Pharmacy Regulations, the transmission of prescription for drugs through electronic means is permissible.
In a May 26, 2022 letter to the Pharmacy Council, Minister of Health & Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton shared the advice of the AGC and directed that the Council be guided accordingly. The Minister also invited the Council to make recommendations for additional regulations on electronic prescriptions where it deems this necessary.
Meanwhile, bearing in mind that medication data are a type of highly sensitive personal data, the Ministry is advising that entities transmitting prescriptions electronically ensure that the system meets the legal requirements of the Government of Jamaica’s Data Protection Act 2020 or be GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliant concerning the end-to-end operations in order to safeguard patient data privacy and security.
Further, Government agencies should be able to audit and confirm the claims of privacy, data protection, cyber threats and encryption if applicable to the system. If there are already existing recommendations, they should be accepted.
Patient consent, meanwhile, should be in writing and reflect agreement to be a part of any programme and for their data to be shared electronically with other medical professionals. These consent forms should be readily available for audit.
In addition, the freedom to choose the service should remain with the patient while partially fulfilled prescriptions should be available to dispense with the balance quantity by the same or other pharmacy of the patient’s choosing and which may or may not be a part of the network.
The system should also be able to avoid dual dispensing of drugs given the availability of both physical and digital copies; and checks and balances in the system to avoid the same.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness will establish a small internal team to coordinate current and emergent issues to do with the electronic transmission of prescriptions.
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