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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure AT-2020-12/583 Updated – measures in Austria

Electronic prescriptions

Elektronisches Rezept

Country Austria , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 18 March 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Measures to prevent social hardship
– Access to healthcare
Author Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound
Measure added 14 April 2020 (updated 02 March 2023)

Background information

In order to keep visits to doctors' offices to a minimum during the COVID-19 pandemic, Austria started to use electronic prescriptions on 18 March 2020. This quick initiation was possible because the country had already prepared to start electronic prescriptions in a pilot project in two political districts in the regional province in Carinthia in April 2020. The measure is targeted especially to those who need long-term medication. It stands to be seen whether it will be prolonged after the COVID-19 crisis is over.

In addition to the electronic prescription, further measures for the period of the pandemic were introduced, including for instance the suspension of the authorisation requirement (chief physician requirement) for many medications. Furthermore, ambulance transports are free of charge until further notice; the same applies to medical aids and aids up to a total of €1,500 as well as X-ray and cross-sectional examinations. Sickness reports to doctors are currently also possible by telephone. Doctors, psychotherapists and midwives can also invoice necessary telemedical treatments (via Skype, video conference or telephone) such as a service performed in the ordination.

Content of measure

The procedure of getting an electronic recipe is that the patient calls the doctor's office. The doctor issues the prescription and saves it in the patient's (pre-existing) e-medication. The information reaches the pharmacy automatically via e-medication. There, the patients can either pick up the medicine themselves or send someone.

In cases where e-medication is not working or is not yet working, doctors were also given the opportunity to send prescriptions to the pharmacies by fax or email. The electronic prescription is primarily intended to help older people and people with previous illnesses to avoid medical practices as best they can given the spread of COVID-19 in Austria. Accordingly, the measure is mainly intended for people with long-term medication. However, in principle, it is also possible that the doctor prescribes medication for acute cases.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

11 January 2023

From spring 2023, private prescriptions (for so-called optional doctors which have to be paid for by the patients or via extra private insurance) can also be issued electronically as e-private prescriptions.

05 October 2021

The issuance of electronic prescriptions due to the Corona crisis is to be prolonged until March 2022, according to the parliamentary health committee. However, in the first quarter of 2022, a regular programme of e-prescriptions is to be implemented, so that this Corona-based measure is to be prolonged in the long term (as was already planned before the pandemic hit the country).

Use of measure

Currently no information available.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Does not apply to businesses Applies to all citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Social insurance
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative
Form Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


The social insurance's administrative board consists of social partner and government representatives, so they are basically involved in all decisions. In this case, the process (i.e. the pre-existing project of implementing e-recipes) was sped up due to the pandemic. No specific funds (above the ones which were set aside for this anyway) were needed.

Views and reactions

Social partners are supportive of the measure.


  • 17 March 2020: Electronic prescriptions - how it works (Elektronisches Rezept – so funktioniert es) (
  • 05 October 2021: Remote prescription becomes e-prescription (


Eurofound (2020), Electronic prescriptions, measure AT-2020-12/583 (measures in Austria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.