What is e-prescription?
"E-prescription" stands for electronic prescription. When a doctor in Norway gives you a prescription, it is sent to a central prescription database. You can then collect the items from a pharmacy or bandagist anywhere in the country.
The only thing you need to take with you to collect the items from the pharmacy or bandagist is valid identification. If you are going to collect medicines on behalf of anyone else, you must also bring your power of attorney in order to collect items for the person who owns the prescriptions. You must also bring a copy of identification for the person concerned.
E-prescription has been introduced throughout Norway. You will be issued with an e-prescription instead of a paper prescription no matter where you live in the country.
All pharmacies and most bandagists can process your e-prescription. They also continue to process valid paper prescriptions.
View your prescriptions
How e-prescriptions work
E-prescriptions work in the same way as paper prescriptions, and the doctor decides for how many dispensings your prescription can be used.
You can also order your prescriptions via an online pharmacy.
You can view a summary of your prescriptions by logging into helsenorge.no.
What will happen when you receive an e-prescription:
- The doctor will prepare the prescription and send it electronically to a central database known as the Prescription Intermediary ("Reseptformidleren").
- When you go to the pharmacy or bandagist, tell them that you have an e-prescription.
- You will be asked to show identification. If you are collecting medicines on behalf of someone else, you may also be asked to show your power of attorney, along with a copy of identification for the patient if the pharmacy does not already have this information.
- They will search for the prescription in the database, process it and give you the items.
Your doctor will normally use e-prescriptions, but in exceptional cases, you can still receive a paper prescription, for instance if you are planning to collect the items from a pharmacy or bandagist in another country.
E-prescription for those who have a confidential address
You can use e-prescriptions even if you have a confidential address, also known as code 6 or 7. There are rules and guidelines for this, and you can find out more from the relevant unit at the National Criminal Investigation Service (Kripos).
Who can see your prescriptions?
On 1 January 2019, the regulations were changed so that health professionals who are treating you no longer need to ask for consent to see your prescriptions. Instead, you can now choose to block access to your prescriptions by health personnel.
You can read more about blocking health professionals' access to your prescriptions in E-prescription privacy and security (in Norwegian).
General practitioners (GPs)
Your GP can view all the prescriptions that have been issued for you. Locked prescriptions that have been locked with a reference number will only be visible to those who enter the prescription's reference number.
Your GP must consider whether you are receiving the appropriate medicines. It is therefore important that they have a complete overview of your prescriptions. Your GP needs to be able to identify medicines which cause effects that may influence each other, known as interactions.
Once you have received the items from the pharmacy or the bandagist, a notification will be sent to your GP to confirm this. This ensures that your GP is aware of the medicines you are taking at all times.
Every time an item is dispensed, you can opt out so that your GP will not receive notification, even if you have given your consent in the past. This is done at the pharmacy or the bandagist before they process the items. You must also do this in connection with locked prescriptions if you do not want your GP to be notified of the dispensing.
Dentists, midwives and public health nurses
Dentists, midwives and public health nurses can view prescriptions that they or others have issued for you.
Pharmacies and bandagists
Staff at pharmacies can view all your prescriptions, but only in order to serve you at the pharmacy or to send your medicines to you. The member of staff will first bring up a list of your valid e-prescriptions and can then download the prescription concerned.
If you do not want pharmacy staff to be able to search for your prescriptions, you can ask your GP to lock the prescription with a reference number. To enable the pharmacy to serve you, you must state the reference number when you collect the items.
Bandagists cannot view prescriptions for medicines.
Healthcare professionals can only search amongst your prescriptions when they have a legitimate need to do so as part of the service they are providing.
Such access will be recorded in an access log, where you can see who has searched amongst your prescriptions. Only access by pharmacies, bandagists and healthcare professionals will be shown.
You will find the access log in the health registry service at helsenorge.no (in Norwegian). Go to the Prescription Intermediary ("Reseptformidleren") in the list of health registries. You will also find a link to the Prescription Intermediary at the top of the medicines service ("legemiddeltjenesten") when you are logged in.
The access log will only be available to you. The service is not available on behalf of others, even to those with parental responsibility or power of attorney.
If you suspect that someone has had unlawful access to your prescriptions, you can contact the doctor's office or the pharmacy that looked up the information.
A locked prescription is used if you want your prescription to be visible only to those you choose to give the reference number to. You must ask your GP to lock the prescription with a reference number before they send the prescription to the Prescription Intermediary. You will then be given a reference number that you must tell your pharmacist or the bandagist in order to collect the items.
View your medicines online
Once you have received an e-prescription from your GP, you can log in to helsenorge.no to view a summary of your prescriptions and medicines.
Illustration: Johnér Bildbyrå AB
Does it cost anything to get a prescription?
When you receive an e-prescription after a consultation with your GP, you will pay the normal rate. It is free to renew a prescription without a doctor's appointment, and you can go straight to a pharmacy or bandagist.
In order to use the medicines service at helsenorge.no to view a summary of your prescriptions, you must log in to helsenorge.no using an electronic ID. You may have to pay a fee in order to obtain an electronic ID. Electronic IDs are provided by BankID, Buypass and Commfides (in Norwegian). You can choose one of these yourself.
Providers of electronic IDs determine the prices of the various solutions.
It is free to use the services at helsenorge.no.
You will find a summary of your prescriptions and medicines under "Medicines" ("Legemidler") when you are logged in to helsenorge.no.
Any pharmacy and most bandagists can process your e-prescription.
The pharmacist or bandagist you use will be asked by your GP to process your e-prescription. When you need more, you can collect what you have left on the prescription from the pharmacy or the bandagist. You can also use an online pharmacy to arrange for your items to be sent to your home address. You will need to contact your GP when you need another prescription.
You must present identification when collecting items on prescription
The pharmacist or bandagist must ensure that the correct medicines or items are given out to the correct person. It is therefore pharmacy procedure to ask for identification if the pharmacy staff do not already know you. This applies both to the dispensing of medicines or other items, and to the disclosure of information concerning prescriptions from pharmacies.
Other people can collect your items on your behalf
It is pharmacy procedure to require the person who collects the prescription for you to present their own identification if the pharmacy staff do not already know them. Power of attorney to collect the items, along with a copy of your identification, will also be required.
Please note that power of attorney to gain access to services is not the same as power of attorney to collect items on behalf of others. In order to collect other people's medicines or items from a pharmacy, you must use a special type of power of attorney specifically intended for this purpose. You can obtain a form for this from the Norwegian Pharmacy Association (in Norwegian).
The requirement for power of attorney does not apply:
- if you are collecting items for your own children under the age of 16.
- if the care service is collecting the items and employee ID is presented.
Healthcare professionals who are employed by a pharmacy may deviate from the requirement to present identification and power of attorney when handing out medicines if they deem it necessary, for example to ensure patient safety.
Security and privacy
E-prescriptions are stored in a central database called the Prescription Intermediary ("Reseptformidleren").
E-prescriptions meet stringent requirements regarding national security and privacy. The system logs the pharmacies, bandagists and healthcare professionals who search for the prescription. You may be asked to provide identification, both when collecting items and when you want a printout. You must present identification when collecting strong painkillers or tranquillisers which could be misused.
The prescription will be deleted from the Prescription Intermediary one month after it has been processed. Once the prescription has expired, it will be deleted immediately.
You can block access to your prescriptions by healthcare professionals. You can read more about this in the article E-prescription privacy and security (in Norwegian).
Summary of your own prescriptions
You can view a summary of valid e-prescriptions and the medicines you are currently taking at helsenorge.no. Your GP can also provide you with a printout of all the medicines and items you are using, provided that your GP has also received information from other doctors who have issued a prescription for you. In addition, you may be able to obtain a printout of your valid e-prescriptions from a pharmacy or a bandagist.
In the access log, you will see a summary of those who have processed your e-prescriptions during the past year.
You must have an electronic ID in order to use the services at helsenorge.no
The services that are provided via helsenorge.no contain information about your prescriptions and therefore the medicines that you are taking. The law imposes stringent requirements regarding services that process such sensitive data. One of these requirements is that log-in must take place using an electronic ID at the very highest level of security, which is level 4. This provides additional assurance that only you will have access to this information. Other services at helsenorge.no and elsewhere also require an electronic ID at level 4.
You may already have a level 4 electronic ID, for example if you already use BankID or BankID on mobile to log in to your online banking service.
Prescription information in summary care record
All prescription information in the Prescription Intermediary is disclosed to the summary care record ("kjernejournal"). Your prescriptions therefore form the basis for presenting information concerning medicines in your summary care record.
What happens if you do not have a Norwegian identity number or D-number?
You can collect your e-prescription even if you do not have a Norwegian identity number or D-number. The e-prescription will then be issued with a reference number, which you must state at the pharmacy or bandagist when you collect your prescription.