West Virginia is one of only three states in the country with laws preventing the fully automated electronic prescription of medication, but that could soon change.
In his State of the State speech, Gov. Joe Manchin highlighted so called ''e-prescriptions'' as one of his key health care initiatives, and by Friday morning, a bill allowing the practice had been introduced in the Senate.
Sending prescriptions electronically from physicians' offices to pharmacies could cut down on error, reduce abuse of prescription drugs and potentially save West Virginia millions of dollars annually, according to advocates.
But not all doctors and pharmacists in the state have the technology to put e-prescriptions into practice yet, and lawmakers say they want to make sure there's no attempt to force compliance by a specified date.
The bill before the Senate doesn't include such language, but it does remove from the law language that currently requires handwritten signatures on prescriptions and other impediments to e-prescribing. Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, D-Logan, said revising the law would bring West Virginia in line with what other states are doing.