This story is from the category Health
Date posted: 08/08/2010
In Britain, an increasing number of websites are pushing the boundaries of online medicine, with at least a dozen sites offering consultations and medication most countries only allow during in-person visits - or remote ones with the help of a webcam or telephone call.
The sites are completely legal, and fall under the jurisdiction of a regulator called the Care Quality commission. Not surprisingly, the most in-demand drugs are for erectile dysfunction, sexually transmitted diseases and hair loss.
The websites don't handle serious medical problems or emergencies and don't deal in narcotics, painkillers or other drugs people could become addicted to.
"The British websites are definitely an exception, but they are the start of a trend we will soon see everywhere," said Dr. Steinar Pedersen, a founder and special adviser at the Norwegian Centre for Telemedicine.
"Opinions will change as people become more comfortable with technology," he said.
Pedersen didn't know of any countries beyond Britain where online medicine for patients who don't know the doctors and don't ever speak to them is legal. The European Commission does not monitor such medical websites, but is working on a paper addressing the legal issues of telemedicine.
In countries including Canada, Denmark, Norway, Germany, and France, doctors are only allowed to treat patients online if they have previously seen them in person.
In the United States, several companies offer online medicine, but patients must typically speak to a doctor on the telephone or set up a videoconference for a live, face-to-face chat.
See the full Story via external site: www.physorg.com
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