Cup stops nation, slows medication


They say it’s the race that stops the nation… but does the Melbourne Cup also stop the medication?

It turns out that while Cup Day doesn’t stop scripts being dispensed – even given the public holiday in Melbourne – it does indeed slow them down.

eRx Script Exchange looked at the number of scripts processed during the 2016 Melbourne Cup and found a greater than 50% drop in script traffic compared with a standard Tuesday afternoon.

Between 3pm and 3.10, when the Cup ran, the total number of scripts prescribed and dispensed across the country dropped by 50%, from a peak of 4,569 per minute to a low of 2,584 per minute during the race.

Script traffic refers to all traffic sent to and from the eRx network, including prescriptions uploaded by GPs and other prescribers, dispenses by pharmacists, and script updates by either GPs or pharmacists. 

Compared with the week prior to Cup Day, Cup Day saw a 44%-52% drop in total traffic sent to the exchange in the ten minutes from 3.00-3.10 pm.

On Tuesday, 26 October, 1,990-2,100 new script items were sent to the network per miute.

But on Tuesday, 1 November, only 889-1,000 new script items were sent to the network per minute.

Of course, pharmacy is approaching its two busiest months of the year for prescriptions, so the number of doctors and pharmacies using eRx continues to grow. 

“In preparation, eRx recently carried out network improvements to ensure that the speed of eRx remains fast,” the company says.

“So when the horses aren’t running and the pace in pharmacy quickens, eRx will continue to provide efficiencies for dispensing.”

Image: Flemington Racecourse, Facebook

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