The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has said it will allow eRx Script Exchange to enter into a contract with MediSecure. This will facilitate interoperability between the parties’ electronic pharmaceutical prescription exchange systems.
Prescription exchange services enable doctors to lodge an electronic prescription for a patient, which the patient can then have downloaded directly by any participating pharmacy. eRx and MediSecure are currently the only two parties operating prescription exchange services in Australia. But their two systems do not currently talk to each other, which is preventing greater use of electronic prescription services.
“Allowing the parties to cooperate is likely to increase the use of electronic prescriptions. This will result in cost savings, a reduction in prescription transcription errors and greater convenience for patients by being able to access electronic prescriptions at more pharmacies,” ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.
The Commonwealth Department of Health and Aging supports the application for authorisation. The ACCC proposes to grant authorisation until 30 June 2017. It says an Australian Standard should be in place by this time, which will include technical specifications to ensure interoperability between all prescription exchange systems.
The ACCC’s decision means immunity from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. The ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment. Interim authorisation allows the parties to engage in the conduct prior to the ACCC considering the substantive merits of the application.