Why French pharmacies can now automatically store your medicine data

We explain your rights under the new law and what information will be stored

The aim is to make drug dispensation from doctors, pharmacists and hospitals safer
Published Last updated

Patients will automatically have a record kept of any medicine they take, unless they opt out, as a new law comes into effect.

Called a dossier pharmaceutique, the file was previously opened only on request, but it will now be created automatically when you visit a pharmacy.

Six weeks to oppose record keeping

The Ordre National des Pharmaciens professional body explains: “The pharmacist will take your contact details (email and postal address).

“You will receive information related to this automatic creation by email, or by letter handed over in person by the pharmacist.

“From this moment, you will have six weeks to exercise your right to oppose the automatic creation of your dossier via a dedicated online portal.”

Read more: How to send a prescription to a French pharmacy online

Improve healthcare coordination

The objectives are to ensure greater coordination between healthcare professionals, to improve vaccination rates and to make drug dispensation from doctors, pharmacists and hospitals safer by limiting the risk of redundant treatments and unsafe drug interactions.

The folder includes your name, sex, date of birth, and information about any medicine you take with or without a prescription, as well as certain medical devices, such as prostheses and implants.

Information about medicine is kept for 12 months, three years when related to biopharmaceuticals, and 21 years for information on vaccines.

Any pharmacist can add to the records, which can also be consulted by doctors who treat you.

You have the right to ask the pharmacist not to add certain medicines, and can refuse to allow your file to be consulted.

You can also ask a pharmacist to close the file at any time.

Read more: Getting medicines delivered to your home in France becomes easier

Part of digitisation of health services

The Ordre National des Pharmaciens has begun a testing phase with certain pharmacists before the change is rolled out across the country. The move is part of a wider effort to digitalise healthcare records.

Last year, France launched the Mon espace santé website, which stores information about patients’ medical histories.

This includes prescriptions, reimbursements, test results and X-rays, and you can also add details of known allergies, any time spent in hospital, and family history.

The accounts are meant to encourage better dialogue between patients and their doctors.

Meanwhile, no date has been set for the nationwide rollout of the digitalised carte Vitale, which is due no later than December 31, 2025. It has already been trialled in a number of departments.

French residents will eventually be able to access their health cards via a smartphone app, making it easier to track payments and reimbursements.

You will still be able to use the physical card if you wish.

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