FDA now lets doctors issue electronic prescriptions

Mara Cepeda
FDA now lets doctors issue electronic prescriptions


FDA Director General Eric Domingo says this will allow people vulnerable to COVID-19 to still access their medicines during the outbreak

MANILA, Philippines – All licensed physicians can now issue electronic prescriptions as the Philippines continues to face the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Eric Domingo signed FDA Circular No. 2020-007 on Tuesday, March 17, which authorizes doctors to issue electronic prescriptions through email or any other alternative mode considered as an acceptable electronic document under the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000.

Domingo said the FDA issued the circular to “ensure access to prescription medicines and maintenance drugs for all individuals vulnerable to COVID-19,” the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The same circular also orders all drugstores and pharmacies to recognize the validity of these electronic prescriptions. 

President Rodrigo Duterte already declared a state of calamity in the Philippines, where 193 people have so far tested positive for COVID-19. 

The entire island of Luzon is under a monthlong lockdown, where only one person per household is allowed to leave to buy supplies. 

Several local government units in the Visayas and Mindanao have also placed their respective areas under localized lockdowns. 

Who can issue an electronic prescription? Only duly licensed physicians can. The electronic prescription shall be deemed equivalent to a written prescription. 

Prescriptions for antibiotics, anti-infectives, and antiviral preparations will only be valid one week from issuance to the patient. 

What should patients look for in a valid electronic prescription? The FDA said all electronic prescriptions should have the following:

  • Name of the individual to whom the medicines or drugs are prescribed
  • Name of medicines or drugs prescribed
  • The dosage
  • All other “pertinent matters” similarly found in a written prescription

Doctors who will be issuing an electronic prescription should also put in these details:

  • Physician’s name
  • Physician’s digital signature
  • Physician’s license number
  • Physician’s Professional Tax Receipt, if applicable

Doctors should also keep records of all the electronic prescriptions they will be issuing. 

Does the patient have to be physically present to buy the medicines? No. The FDA said that if the person to whom the electronic prescription was given is vulnerable to COVID-19, then he or she may send a proxy instead. 

A proxy needs to bring a letter of authorization signed by the person who needs the medicines or drugs. If the person is a senior citizen or a person with disability (PWD), then the proxy should bring a copy of the senior citizen card or PWD card. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.