Prescription Drug Data

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Chapter: Pharmacovigilance: MEMO in the United Kingdom

After a patient receives a prescription from his/her doctor, the patient takes it to the community pharmacy where it is dispensed.


PRESCRIPTION DRUG DATA

After a patient receives a prescription from his/her doctor, the patient takes it to the community pharmacy where it is dispensed. Dispensed prescriptions are then sent to the Pharmacy Practice Division (PPD) of the Information and Statistics Division of the Common Services Agency to obtain reimburse-ment and dispensing fees. After paying the pharmacists and dealing with any appeals, PPD sends the cashed prescription forms to MEMO. GP prescribing information is captured by MEMO by a unique menu-driven computer system, which links the prescrib-ing information with the CHI number database (Figure 26.1). Using this system, it is possible to allocate the CHI number from the patient details on the prescription.


All items from the prescription are entered and stored on a database for research purposes. The date the prescription was written as well as the GP that prescribed the medication is recorded. The drug prescribed is entered via a ‘drop-down menu’ to ensure product availability and to avoid miscoding of preparation and spelling errors.

Both generic and proprietary names are used so the ability to differentiate between product types is available. The total amount of drug dispensed is also entered together with the dosing instructions, thus allowing the duration of any prescription to be calcu-lated. Community prescribing data have been entered for selected medications from January 1989 (notably non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, ulcer healing drugs, lipid-lowering drugs and hormone replacement therapy) and all prescribed medications from January 1993. MEMO now has records of 30 million prescrip-tions dispensed in Tayside up to 2006.

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