HB 831: E-prescribing and Veterinary Practice

We are aware that some veterinarians are encountering issues with pharmacies rejecting their written prescriptions on the basis of Florida’s Electronic Prescribing Law. Please read the following clarification regarding this.

Florida’s Electronic Prescribing Law, the subject of HB 831, was signed into law by Governor DeSantis on June 18, 2019, and became effective on January 1, 2020. The law requires all prescribing healthcare practitioners to electronically transmit prescriptions for medicinal drugs upon the renewal of their license or by July 1, 2021. It applies only to those practitioners that maintain electronic health records (EHR), or a digital version of a patient’s paper chart, and (with certain exceptions listed in the statute) effectively prohibits any written prescriptions. Prescribing healthcare practitioners are regulated under Chapter 456 of the Florida Statutes, and include physicians, physician assistants, osteopaths, podiatrists, dentists, advanced registered nurse practitioners, and optometrists.

Absent from this list are veterinarians. This is because Chapter 456 only applies to healthcare professionals. The practice of veterinary medicine is regulated under Chapter 455, F.S., which governs businesses and other licensed professional occupations, and Chapter 474, F.S., the Veterinary Practice Act. Although veterinarians can purchase, prescribe, administer, or dispense prescription drugs in Florida, they are specifically not included in the Chapter 456 definition of a healthcare practitioner.

As such, Florida’s E-prescribing Law does not apply to veterinarians, even those who employ the use of electronic records in their practices. Veterinarians in Florida may continue to write physical prescriptions for their patients. Indeed, Florida law requires veterinarians to provide clients with a written prescription, if requested by the client.

To help with this matter, we have attached an official clarification from the Board of Pharmacy for your reference and use.