To achieve a safer future prescribing, the Swedish government has introduced a mandatory registration of all drugs dispensed at pharmacies. The medication history in the register may be accessed online by registered individuals, prescribers and pharmacists. After 15 months of action, the prevalence of individuals with dispensed drugs in the Swedish population was 71.0% (6,424,487/9,047,752); women 78.8% and men 63.1%. The incidence rate for individuals with dispensed drugs was estimated as 12.4 (1,000*111,960/9,047,752) per month and 1, 000 inhabitants. The mean number of dispensed prescriptions was 12.1 (median 6, Q1-Q3 2-15) per individual. For the elderly (age group 80-89), the mean number of dispensed prescriptions was 27.8 during the study period (median 24,Q1-Q3 13-38); women 28.8 and men 26.1.
When introducing a National Pharmacy Register, containing personal drug information for the majority of the population, issues on security, confidentiality and ethics have to be taken into consideration. The lack of widespread secure digital signatures in health care may delay general availability. To clinically evaluate individual medication history, the relatively high prevalence of dispensed drugs in the population, seems to justify the National Pharmacy Register.
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