digital security for paper prescriptions

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QRX adds a layer of digital security to paper prescriptions.

Lax prescribing laws, limited tracking systems and resistance among the medical establishment to adopt more stringent safe-prescribing practices have resulted in a system that is far too easily gamed by addicts and their suppliers.
Providence Journal (Rhode Island) Apr 6, 2014


Click on each prescription below to view QRX code on back.

    Scan code with a smartphone to view the source and content.

Case #1: Altered Authentic Prescription

"Verified!" message appears because the prescription is authentic and digitally signed using QRX. However, our patient has attempted to increase the quantity and refills. A pharmacist who compares the original paper to the digital prescription content returned by QRX will catch this alteration and prevent diversion.

Case #2: Photocopied Prescription

"Warning!" message appears because the prescription was scanned more than one time. Our patient has created a fake prescription and photocopied a working QRX code on the back. Any QRX code that shows multiple scans indicates that the pharmacist should proceed with caution before filling the prescription.

How Does QRX Work?

Create a New Prescription

Once logged in, a prescriber completes the form to match a paper prescription he or she has just written.

The current date, prescriber's name and prescriber's address will be autofilled by QRX for each prescription created, eliminating the need to type this information each time.

Click Create QRX Code Button

When the Create button is clicked, the form information (patient name, drug, quantity, etc.) is sent to QRX.

QRX combines this information with the prescribers' digital signature and returns a printable QR code containing all of the above information, making the source and content of each prescription trackable.

QRX Code is Ready to Print

The window that appears contains the unique QRX code for the prescription just created.

When you click the green Print QRX Code button, QRX code will print on the paper prescription.

Place Paper Prescription into Your Current Printer

Place your paper prescription into your printer so that the QRX code will print on the back.

No special printer or specific ink is needed to print your QRX code. QRX adds a code to any paper prescription, so you can use your current prescription pads.

Paper prescription is ready to give to the patient.

Pharmacist Scans QRX Code

At the pharmacy, a pharmacist scans the QRX code using a smartphone or handheld scanner.

Results of the scan will appear in seconds - the top section shows whether or not the digital signature is verified, and shows a warning if the code has been scanned previously (this could indicate a photocopied code).


  • QR (short for "quick-response") codes are a type of bar code.
  • A standard UPC bar code (like those scanned on food items at the grocery store) can only hold up to 30 numbers, while a QR code can store thousands of characters, making it useful for many purposes.
  • QR codes can contain links to websites, additional information about products, addresses, phone numbers and much more.
  • The QR code created by QRX contains a prescriber's digital signature, timestamp, and the entire paper prescription content.
  • A digital signature provides a way to verify the source of electronic data, and to ensure that the data has not been altered since its creation.
  • When a prescription is signed, the prescription contents are combined with the prescriber's secret key, stored on the QRX server, to produce a signature. This signature is a long string of seemingly-random numbers that are difficult to fake.
  • QRX uses the latest cryptographic security standards, and does all the work for you behind the scenes.
  • It would take hundreds of years to correctly guess a QRX digital signature.

Yes! QRX does not require a certain type of printer, or even special ink. There is no need to purchase any new equipment. Because QR codes print directly from the web onto ANY paper prescription, you will not need to order new prescription pads or pay extra for expensive built-in paper features.

We recommend the Scan app by Scan, Inc, available for Android, iPhone, Mac and Windows devices (cost $1.99) at the Scan download page.

  • QRX codes are printed on the back of paper prescriptions.
  • The first time a QRX code is scanned, the time and location of that scan is recorded in the QRX database and is shown on the verify page.
  • Subsequent scans (scan number, time and location) will appear below the initial scan.
  • If a code has been scanned more than once, a caution message will appear on the verify page, indicating that the pharmacist should ask additional questions before filling the prescription.
  • Scan information cannot be removed once it appears in the database, making every code and every scan trackable, including a photocopy of a QRX code.

There are many tamper-resistant features available for printed prescriptions today.

However, there is no standardized set of required elements. Pharmacists often find themselves unsure of what features may or may not be present on any given prescription, and have to base their decision to fill prescriptions for controlled substances on guesswork and intuition.

Certain features (such as thermal paper, copy-void messages and erasure-revealing paper), only affect the paper, not what is written on it. Therefore, dishonest patients can simply add additional drugs, or change refill or quantity numbers with a pen, and these paper-based features will still fail to prevent tampering and fraud.

Criminals armed with real physician names and matching DEA numbers have ordered blank prescription pads containing any number of security features from unscrupulous printers in developing countries. They successfully obtain large quantities of narcotics for resale by writing hundreds of fake prescriptions with real security features built-in, thus implicating an honest practitioner in a difficult legal situation.

QRX, with its stringent sign-up procedure and advanced cryptography, adds a layer of security onto ANY paper prescription. With QRX, the both the source AND actual content of the prescription is revealed and can be compared with the paper in front of you, in seconds!