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New law for personal data storage by pharmacies

Décret 2023-251 3 April 2023 permits pharmacies to automatically keep a record of patient’s medication. The pharmaceutical file (dossier pharmaceutique), will be created automatically when you visit the pharmacy, where you will be asked for your email and postal address. You will be notified of the automatic creation of your file by email or by post.

The record includes your contact details and data on your medicines including non-prescription medication. Medical devices such as prostheses and implants are recorded as are vaccinations.

Information on medicines is kept for twelve months and vaccine data for 23 years. Pharmacists can add information, which can also be seen by your doctor. You have the right to ask the pharmacist not to add any medications and you can refuse to allow access to your file by any other health professionals. After creation of the file you have six weeks from the date of notification to object to the  creation of your file.  Any objection can be made via a dedicated online portal, and it will be valid for three years. The objectives are to improve coordination between health professionals, vaccination rates and make prescription safer by doctors (in the community or hospital)  and pharmacists.

Part of the digitalisation of healthcare services

Last year France launched My Health Space (www.monespacesante.fr) website, which stores information about patients’ medical history. This includes prescriptions, reimbursements, test results, and X-rays, and you can also add details about known allergies, time spent in hospital, and family history. The accounts are intended to foster a better dialogue between patients and their doctors.

Carte Vitale

In the meantime, no date has been set for the national rollout of the virtual Carte Vitale, scheduled for 31 December 2025 at the latest. It has already been tested in several departments. French residents will eventually be able to access their health card via a smartphone application, making it easier to track payments and refunds. You will still be able to use the physical card if you wish.

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