Lost and Damaged Prescriptions Cost Canadians Time, Money and can Affect Their Health

(Toronto) — More than four million Canadians lose or damage their paper prescriptions each year, resulting in return trips to the doctor’s office or prescriptions that go unfilled.

The cost is high in terms of lost productivity, extra travel and time spent filling prescriptions, and most importantly, the potential for adverse health events due to medications that aren’t taken at all.

According to a recent study conducted by Nielsen for Canada Health Infoway (Infoway), 40 per cent of those Canadians who lost or damaged their paper prescriptions last year (nearly 1.7 million people) returned to their doctor’s office to replace the prescription. This led to more than $35 million in lost productivity, travel and other associated costs.

Even more alarming was the fact that more than 700,000 Canadians decided to do nothing, going without medications. According to a World Health Organization report, medication non-adherence can lead to adverse events and accounts for five per cent of Canadian hospital admissions and five per cent of physician visits, resulting in an additional $4 billion in health costs annually.

PrescribeIT™, Canada’s e-prescribing service, can prevent prescriptions from getting lost or damaged. PrescribeIT™ enables community-based prescribers to electronically transmit a prescription to a patient’s pharmacy of choice, reducing the use of paper prescriptions. Developed to seamlessly integrate with existing electronic medical record and pharmacy management systems, PrescribeIT™ is a not-for-profit solution that promises patient prescription data will never be used for commercial use. PrescribeIT™ is committed to helping health care practitioners enhance patient safety, improve continuity of care, and facilitate better health outcomes.

Learn more about PrescribeIT™at www.PrescribeIT.ca. Prescribers and pharmacists interested in implementing the service are invited to submit an application of interest.

To learn more about the findings mentioned above, download: Connecting Patients for Better Health: 2018.


“By not filling a prescription, patients risk their overall health” said Bill Coon, owner/pharmacist at Remedy’sRx Muskoka Medical Centre Pharmacy in Huntsville, Ontario. “Unmanaged conditions can lead to a worsening of a patient’s condition and to more frequent emergency department visits and hospitalizations.”

“Technology such as PrescribeIT™ offers health care providers the opportunity to offset the health risks associated with non-adherence to medication,” said Ronan O’Leary, physician at the Niagara North Family Health Team in Virgil, Ontario. “It integrates seamlessly with my electronic medical record software and the prescription is securely delivered to the patient’s preferred pharmacy.”

“Lost or damaged prescriptions that never get filled are not only inconvenient, they can lead to adverse outcomes if a prescription isn’t filled,” said Michael Green, President and CEO of Canada Health Infoway. “PrescribeIT™ will help modernize Canada’s prescribing processes, increasing patient safety and reducing fraud and misuse.”

About PrescribeIT™

Canada Health Infoway is working with Health Canada, the provinces and territories, and industry stakeholders to develop, operate and maintain the national e-prescribing service known as PrescribeIT™. PrescribeIT™ will serve all Canadians, pharmacies and prescribers and provide safer and more effective medication management by enabling prescribers to transmit a prescription electronically between a prescriber’s electronic medical record (EMR) and the pharmacy management system (PMS) of a patient’s pharmacy of choice. PrescribeIT™ will protect Canadians’ personal health information from being sold or used for commercial activities.

About Canada Health Infoway

Infoway helps to improve the health of Canadians by working with partners to accelerate the development, adoption and effective use of digital health across Canada. Through our investments, we help deliver better quality and access to care and more efficient delivery of health services for patients and clinicians. Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government.


For more information:

Media Inquiries

Karen Schmidt
Director, Corporate/Internal Communications
Canada Health Infoway
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Inquiries about PrescribeIT™

Tania Ensor
Vice President, External Relations, PrescribeIT®
Canada Health Infoway
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