Knesset Bill Permits Pharmacists to Renew Prescriptions

YERUSHALAYIM -

The Knesset Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee has approved regulations that will permit pharmacists to refill prescription drugs for some  chronic illnesses, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.

The measure is expected to reduce costs in the Israeli public health system, since doctors are paid by the number of patients they see each quarter. The regulations, which bring Israel more in line with prescription practices in other western countries, will go into effect in six months.

Only pharmacists with a minimum of five years’ experience will be entitled to renew medications for chronic illness that a doctor has prescribed for the patient. The conditions include drugs for diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, muscle pains thyroid function and urological problems.

The Knesset committee did not approve other proposals, such as authorizing experienced pharmacists to write prescriptions for new conditions such as migraine, acne, obesity or chronic rhinitis.

Committee chairman MK Haim Katz argued haste in approving all the proposed regulations was dangerous.

However, Dr. Eyal Schwartzberg, the ministry’s chief pharmacist, defended the full package of proposed regulations, saying, “We are speaking about simple drugs prescribed by pharmacists in many countries.”