Medical prescriptions are used by doctors in contract with the National Health Insurance Fund of Hungary (NEAK) for prescribing medications and medical aids. Prescriptions are available in paper format or electronically, in the form of e-Prescription (electronic prescription) via the National E-health Infrastructure (EESZT, Elektronikus Egészségügyi Szolgáltatási Tér).
All doctors and dentists are entitled to prescribe medications. For doctors, veterinatians and pharmacists – if they can authentically verify their profession-, prescription-only medications can be sold without a prescription in the quantity sufficient for a maximum of 30 days, with the exception of medications in the following categories: narcotic (K1, K2) and psychotrop (P2, P4) drugs.
What information do prescriptions contain?
Aside from special types of prescriptions (“pro familia”, “pro me” etc.), regular prescriptions must contain the following information: the name of the doctor prescribing the medication, address and telephone number of the doctor’s workplace, doctor’s operating licence number, date of issuance, and the name, place of residency and birth date of the patient.
If social security covered medications are prescribed, the patient’s TAJ (Social Security Code) and their disease’s BNO-code (Hungarian version of the International Classification of Diseases, ICD), and if the patient receives public health coverage support, the public health coverage identification card number has to be provided, too.
If the social security covered category of a drug or a medical aid is medical indication-related, the specialist’s medical seal number and the issuance date of the medical indication have to be indicated on the prescription, too.
In case of electronic prescriptions (e-Prescriptions) prescribed via the EESZT, aside from the abovementioned details, the patient’s gender and TAJ – or if the latter is missing, then the number of any personal identification card has to be provided.
The prescription must contain clear directions and information on the dosage of the medication. The doctor indicates the name and the form of the drug (pills, capsules, injection, ointment, cream, suppository), the number of pieces the drug contains in Arabic numbers and written in Latin, and the exact dosage and form of usage.
Prescriptions must contain the signature of the patient and/or the person who redeems the drug, as well as the signature and medical seal of the prescribing doctor.
In case of international treaty or EU citizens, the prescription must contain the country’s code, the alphabetic and numerical code of the form that makes the patient eligible for the medical service, the number/identification code of the foreign insurance, and the date of birth.
Only one medication can be prescribed on one prescription. The social security coverage category may vary depending on drugs and medical aids (and it is regulated by different regulations and the disease type of itself) – the prescription title gives you more information about it, indicated by the doctor. The category may be normative, individual coverage, HDF, public health coverage, emphasized, raised and full price category.
Possible prescription titles:
- Normative: 80, 55, 25 or 0% coverage can be applied to medications depending on the type of the disease. The extent of the support is determined by the NEAK.
- Individual coverage: can be applied on medications, nutritional supplements and medical aids which normally would not be covered by social security insurance, or they have no valid marketing authorization in Hungary, but they are necessary for the successful treatment of the patient, or the treatment can only be implemented with medications that are usually applied in other diseases. Individual coverage must be requested at the National Health Insurance Fund of Hungary (NEAK).
- Coverage for civil employees and soldiers working for the Hungarian Defence Forces.
- Public health coverage: This is a social support-based coverage category that can be availed with a predetermined budget. (Emphasized and raised coverage categories can be applied at the same time within the scope of public health coverage.)
- Occupational injury. 100% coverage is provided for those with occupational injury for medications, medical aids on nutritional supplements.
- 100% coverage, with a 300 HUF copayment for medications taken continuously or lifelong for chronic diseases or chronic prevention.
- Raised. Medications taken continuously or lifelong in chronic diseases and disorders, moderately severe chronic illnesses and for diseases which are severe, but require shorter medical treatment. Medications in this category can only be purchased with a valid medical indication certificate issued by a specialist. The extent of the coverage can either be 90, 70 or 50%.
- Full price. If patients with no social security coverage need prescription only medications, they can purchase them at full price.
For further reading on medication coverage, see: Price coverage of medicines
Additional information on prescriptions
It is also indicated on the prescription if the drug cannot be substituted with another drug. If the doctor does not indicate this, the pharmacist may offer the patient a cheaper substituent medication.
The list of substituent medications are available in the online drug registry of the National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition (in Hungarian: Országos Gyógyszerészeti és Élelmezés-egészségügyi Intézet OGYÉI).
If the doctor forgot to indicate the patient’s place of residency, TAJ or date of birth on the prescription, the pharmacist has the right to supplement it after the patient provides means of identification.
When the patient requests – or if the patient is under the age of 14, it is obligatory-, the doctor can issue a prescription certification of the prescribed drug. If the doctor issues an e-Prescription, the patient can redeem it with their TAJ or identity card at any pharmacies.
The launch of EESZT has made it possible to issue electronic prescriptions (e-Prescriptions) virtually and remotely. E-prescriptions made medication purchasing more convenient. Previously it was only possible to buy prescription only medications with the paper format prescriptions (this method is still available), however, from now on, one has multiple options for redeeming prescriptions.
E-prescriptions – as an electronical alternative form of the traditional paper form prescriptions – make the electronic route of the drug disposal possible, from the electronic form of prescribing until the redeeming of the medication.
If patients cannot redeem their own medication, then they have to submit an online authorization form though the governments website for administration, called Kormányablak. However, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been made possible to redeem one’s medications without this authorization by providing the patient’s authentical TAJ or identification data.
New, “blue” prescription certification
In November 2020 a new, blue-colored prescription certification was introduced, which can be used as well as the traditional, “red” form. The size and arrangement of the new, paper format Prescription Certification is the same as the traditional prescription, but this is blue, and “FELÍRÁSI IGAZOLÁS” (prescription certification) is written on the top. Furthermore, as the medical (red) prescription, it also contains safety elements and a sequential number.
The NEAK provides the new, paper format prescription certifications for the doctors until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, doctors are not obliged to use them.