Drug store chain Walgreens filled four million electronic prescriptions during October, nearly triple the number it filled in October last year. The current number represents 22% of all eligible prescriptions, the Deerfield, Ill.-based company has announced.

Walgreens estimates it will fill 45 million electronic prescriptions during 2009, compared with 15 million a year ago. The company expects strong growth in e-prescribing to continue because of financial incentives from Medicare and funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to encourage adoption of health information technologies.

The company called on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to enable physicians to electronically prescribe controlled substances, which account for about 15% of all prescribed medications. The DEA has been studying the issue for several years.

Walgreens operates more than 7,100 pharmacies in all 50 states. More information is available at walgreens.com.

--Joseph Goedert

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