Many health systems (HS) have adopted novel models of care which have included non-medical prescription (NMP) by physiotherapists. The aim of this study was to verify in the literature the existence of this practice and its possible benefits. A literature review was carried out through search on Science Direct, PubMed, SciELO, Lilacs and Google Scholar, and in the World Confederation for Physical Therapy and Chartered Society of Physiotherapy websites. In recent decades the United Kingdom adopted the NMP for health professionals, followed by Canada. In Australia and New Zealand physiotherapists have acted in the prescription and administration of medications under medical orders, which is the first step into independent prescription. Brazilian physiotherapists cannot prescribe any medication, despite of high demands from patients in the Brazilian HS, shortage of physicians in many regions and bureaucracy in accessing health services. The adoption of NMP by physiotherapists may play an important role in the HS, and it seems to be an inevitable achievement in the next years in Australia and New Zealand. The main benefits include decreasing bureaucracy for assistance, population demands for medication as well as major professional refinement.
Health systems; Physical therapists; Professional practice; Drug prescriptions