5 Things Pharma Needs to Know About E-Prescriptions in Germany

Electronic prescriptions are the new default in Germany, with millions being issues daily. Here are 5 things pharma should know about eRx in Germany and how it can help drive adherence, persistence, and refill rates

Dan Brown Feb 27, 2024

Dan is a journalism graduate from the UK. He aims to make the complex topic of digital healthcare accessible for both patients and experts, using simple and concise language.

View Dan Brown’s posts

The long-awaited rollout of electronic prescriptions (aka e-prescriptions or eRx) in Germany is now well underway, with millions being issued daily. For pharma, the rollout of eRx in Germany represents another step towards healthcare digitization in Europe and a huge opportunity in one of the world’s largest markets. Here are five things pharma should know about eRx in Germany and how it can drive critical issues such as adherence and persistence.

1. E-Prescriptions Are the New Default in Germany

Roughly 90,000,000 electronic prescriptions have been filled in Germany, with almost 2 million filled per day. The use of e-prescriptions for prescription medications has been mandatory since the start of January 1, 2024, making eRx the new default for the 70+ million people covered by public health insurance.

This long-awaited development, which has been riddled with delays and setbacks, represents a massive opportunity for a more convenient prescription process that, importantly for pharma, holds the potential to increase the percentage of prescriptions that are filled and improve refill rates.

2. NFC Makes Filling Online Quick & Easy

For pharma, one of the biggest benefits of e-prescriptions is the greater convenience granted to patients when filling their prescriptions. Filling e-prescriptions in regular pharmacies requires patients to have only their health insurance card; however, the most significant improvement in convenience is when it comes to ordering prescription medications online.

It was previously only possible to fill prescriptions online by mailing the paper prescription to the online pharmacy, where it would need to be validated before the order could be completed. Unsurprisingly, almost nobody did this.

With e-prescriptions, patients require only an electronic health insurance card (known as an eGK in Germany). Patients must simply request a PIN from their insurer and, after an initial setup, can begin using their card in combination with any NFC-enabled smartphone.

Patients will then be able to retrieve e-prescriptions with a single tap of the card. From there, it is possible to store e-prescriptions, reserve them at a local pharmacy, or arrange delivery. Although the NFC functionality is currently limited to the official e-prescription app, ‘E-Rezept,’ it will soon be possible for authorized online pharmacies to retrieve e-prescription details in a similar manner. This gives patients the flexibility to fill prescriptions in their preferred manner, including having their medications delivered (often within 24 hours).

Until then, patients will be able to scan a QR code from a printout of their e-prescription and immediately fill it online – which still represents a significant improvement over traditional paper prescriptions.

Learn how we implement eRx functionality in MyTherapy

Get in touch

3. Repeat Prescription Enable Greater Reliability

One notable enhancement offered by eRx in comparison to traditional prescriptions pertains to repeat prescriptions. With e-prescriptions, doctors have the flexibility to issue repeat prescriptions up to a year in advance and specify the activation date for each one. This eliminates the necessity for patients to reach out or visit their doctor solely to secure a new prescription on multiple occasions throughout the year.

For healthcare professionals (HCPs) and patients alike, this marks a considerably more convenient procedure for managing anticipated repeat prescriptions, effectively reducing the likelihood of delayed prescription renewals.

People living with chronic diseases stand to gain the most from this feature, as it ensures a constant supply of their medications.

4. E-Prescriptions Have Been Found to Increase Adherence

E-prescriptions have been found to increase adherence by tackling many of the issues that cause people to miss their medications. One is linked to the previous topic of refills being completed; one study found that the percentage of e-prescriptions picked up was 94%, compared to previous benchmarks of 75%-80%. Furthermore, e-prescriptions give patients greater flexibility when it comes to purchasing their medications, as ordering online is made simpler. This helps address problems like a local pharmacy being out of stock.

E-prescriptions can improve adherence in other ways. In the US, a study found that e-prescriptions helped reduce prescription errors, which means more patients receive their medication as and when they should.

Additionally, e-prescription software can tackle non-adherence by pushing educational content relating to the specific medication. When done well and crafted with the input of skilled medical writers and behavior change experts, such content can tackle many issues relating to non-adherence.

5. Pharma Can Boost Refill Rates with eRx

The combined impact of the discussed eRx features is that pharma can boost refill rates by seamlessly incorporating it into existing digital patient tools. By integrating eRx into digital patient support programs, for example, pharma can combine medication management, education and awareness, and prescription management in a single tool.

Furthermore, by increasing awareness of eRx and its features, such as advanced repeat prescriptions, pharma can help patients take advantage of the functionalities on offer.

In combination with improved adherence, the greater convenience offered by eRx can help pharma improve refill rates and, ultimately, support better patient outcomes.

Talk to Us About eRx in Germany

MyTherapy is already the platform upon which pharma can deliver effective patient support with proven engagement. The eRx functionality within MyTherapy allows patients to store their e-prescriptions, find local pharmacies, and order online via Redcare Pharmacy.

For pharma partners, the implementation of eRx in a patient support program helps create a seamless medication management system that provides patients value daily.

If you would like to learn more about the MyTherapy platform and how it can help you provide class-leading patient support, click here to book a demo.