November 10, 2020

Re: Electronic Prescribing

It is important that all registrants be aware that electronic prescribing has not yet been legislated. Until such time as it is, registrants are required to provide an original (handwritten) or unique (signed with an electronic pen, mouse or equivalent) signature for every prescription in order for it to be filled by a pharmacist. There are significant financial penalties for pharmacists who accept prescriptions that are invalid.

Registrants are reminded that the details required of a “valid” prescription are:

  • date of the prescription;
  • name and address of the patient;
  • name of the drug or ingredients and strength if applicable;
  • quantity of the drug;
  • dosage instructions, including the frequency, interval or maximum daily dose;
  • refill authorization if applicable, including the number of refills and interval between refills, and
  • the name, identification, and signature of the prescriber.

On October 14, 2020, the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia issued a bulletin titled PRP Insights: Electronic Signatures Clarified. This bulletin clarified the use of electronic signatures on prescriptions. All registrants with prescribing authority in BC should review the bulletin to ensure compliance with its requirements.

Electronic transmission of a prescription is not yet permitted except by physical fax. Registrants should not be providing prescriptions to patients by email for the patient to take to the pharmacy. If registrants are providing telemedicine appointments, all prescriptions need to be originally or uniquely signed and faxed directly to the patient’s preferred pharmacy.

Registrants are reminded to not send an invalid prescription to pharmacies with the expectation that it will be filled. If registrants request that a pharmacy fill an invalid prescription, this College would consider such an action to be unprofessional and may result in the matter being referred to the Inquiry Committee.


Howard Greenstein, B.Sc., M.A., M.B.A.
Registrar & CEO