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Electronic signatures not acceptable

September 23, 2013

The standards of practice for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and physicians all state that electronic signatures on prescriptions are not allowed.

Standards of Practice for Pharmacist and Pharmacy Technicians, Standard 6 
College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta, Standards of Practice, Standard 12(8)
CPSA Prescribing/Pharmacy FAQs


  • Prescriptions produced by computer and hand-signed by the prescriber or with an electronic signature that is then initialed by the prescriber and delivered by the patient are acceptable. However, it is your responsibility to ensure the prescription is authentic, just as you would for a prescription which is handwritten.
  • Prescriptions that are produced by computer and hand-signed by the prescriber, or with an electronic signature and initialed by the prescriber, that are then faxed to the pharmacy.

NOT acceptable

  • Prescriptions emailed to you.
  • Prescriptions produced by computer but not signed by the prescriber, or has an electronic signature and is not initialed by the prescriber. There are insufficient security measures in place to ensure the validity of prescriptions sent electronically.

The college supports the concept of e-prescribing. However, until requirements for securing patient confidentiality, verifying authenticity, and preventing diversion are defined, e-prescribing is not acceptable.

For best practices, refer to Ensuring Safe & Efficient Communication of Medication Prescriptions