Useful information

What if my prescription expires? –Pharmacy’s basics ①

2021/08/01

It was good to visit a medical institution and receive a prescription during lunch break-, but when I missed going to the pharmacy, I noticed it had expired. Or, I got a prescription before the holidays, and when I went to get the medicine after the holidays, I found that the prescription had a deadline.
Does it sound familiar? What should I do if I notice that my prescription has expired?

You can’t receive the medication with an expired prescription

Principally, the upshot is that if you submit an expired prescription to the pharmacy, you will not be able to receive your medicine.
If there are any concerns about the contents of the prescription, the pharmacist will contact the doctor who issued the prescription, confirm the contents, and then dispense. This is an obligation imposed on the pharmacist, called “prescription inquiry.”
But, if you consider asking the pharmacist to call for a “prescription inquiry” with an expired prescription to receive the medicine, you can’t do that. Dispensing medicine cannot be based on an expired prescription.

What to do when your prescription expires

So what if your prescription expires?
The patient must go to the medical institution again to have the prescription reissued.
However, if you bring an expired prescription, you may not be able to get it reissued easily.
As a general rule, you will need to see your doctor again and get a new prescription issued.
In addition, the medical examination fee (examination fee and prescription fee) is entirely at your own expense.
As you can see, just one day’s delay getting the medicine from the pharmacy with the
prescription will cost you extra money. Be sure to redeem your prescription drugs on time.

How long is the prescription valid?

I think many people don’t care that prescriptions have a deadline in the first place.
Every prescription has a column for the date when the prescription was delivered (date of delivery) and the “prescription usage period”. It is the lower part of the column where the patient’s name and date of birth are written.
When you look at the prescription, the “date of delivery” is always stated, but the “prescription usage period” is often blank. Then, of course, there is no expiration date.
If you look closely at the right side of the period of use, it says, “Unless otherwise specified, submit this to the insurance pharmacy within 4 days including the date of issuance.”
In otherwords, if the date is not written in the period of use column, “within 4 days including the date of issuance” is the expiration date of the prescription.
For example, if you get a prescription on Thursday, you must bring your prescription and go get your medicine by Sunday, on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Even if thepharmacy is closed on Sundays, it doesn’t change the requirement. Same goes for holidays and consecutive holidays.

If you can’t go to the pharmacy within 4 days, consult in advance

By the way, the reason why the expiration date of the prescription is 4 days is stipulated as follows in Article 20-3 of “Insurance Medical Institutions and Insurance Medical Care
Regulations”, which is a rule that medical institutions in charge of insurance medical care should follow.
Article 20 of “Rules for Insurance Medical Institutions and Insurance Medical Care”
Issuance of prescription:
B. The period of use of the prescription shall be within four days including the date of issuance. However, this does not apply if it is recognized that there are special circumstances such as long-term travel.
However, it is possible to make it longer than 4 days at the doctor’s discretion when there are extenuating circumstances; for instance, if it is recognized that there are special circumstances such as long-term travel, this 4-day period does not apply. So, if there is any reason why you can’t get your medicine right away, talk to your doctor at the time of your examination.