Objective: To assess the extent of and the reasons for unclaimed prescriptions, primary non-compliance, after automated transmittals to pharmacies.
Methods: Cross-sectional study in 3 health care districts (population 240,000) in the southernmost of Sweden on unclaimed electronic prescriptions (e-prescriptions), transmitted to 21 pharmacies during the period of 3 months (2000) and semi-structured interview study with patients not claiming their e-prescriptions transmitted to 4 pharmacies during a period of 3 weeks (2001).
Main outcome measure: Proportion of unclaimed e-prescriptions of total number of (dispensed and unclaimed) e-prescriptions and reasons for primary non-compliance.
Results: In total, 2171 (2.4%) e-prescriptions remained unclaimed at the pharmacies. The peak non-redemption rate was observed for those 15–24 years old (5.5%). The lowest rate was observed for those 65–74 years old. Men had a higher non-redemption rate than women. The highest rate for men was observed 25–34 years old (6.6%). Drugs for the musculo-skeletal system (ATC group M) had higher non-redemption rates than expected (3.9%), and antibiotics (ATC-group J) lower (1.7%). Adolescents and young adults, 15–24 years old, had high non-compliance rates for drugs for the musculo-skeletal system (14%) and anti-asthmatic drugs (11%). Of 78 interviewed patients, not claiming their e-prescriptions, 61% reported no need to have the prescription dispensed. However, unintentional non-compliance was reported by 28%, most of them were not aware that a prescription had been transmitted to the pharmacy. Thirteen percent reported that non-redemption had given further medical problems or made obtaining a new prescription necessary.
Conclusion: Primary non-compliance was generally low, but there were differences related to age, gender and type of drugs. The most common reason reported for non-redemption was that the prescription was not needed, but some patients were unaware that prescriptions were issued and transmitted to the pharmacy.
Community pharmacyElectronic prescriptionsInitial non-complianceNon-redemption ratePrimary non-complianceUnclaimed prescriptionsSweden