September 19, 2023 13:13
The morning-after pill accounted for the lion's share of drugs that were remotely prescribed over the Internet.
The Korea Pharmaceutical Association surveyed 1,142 pharmacists about a telemedicine trial conducted from June to August and found that drugs that are not covered by public medical insurance account for 57.2 percent of remote prescriptions, compared to 15 percent of all prescriptions.
Some pharmacists said the data raises fears of abuse of online consultations since patients who receive remote prescriptions can submit the same document to multiple pharmacies.
The morning-after pill accounted for 34.6 percent of remote prescriptions not covered by public health insurance, followed by acne treatments (24.7 percent), hair-loss treatments (22.2 percent) and slimming pills (7.1 percent).
"Women tend to feel embarrassed about seeing a doctor to receive prescriptions for the morning-after pill," a KPA spokesman said.
Pharmacists said the biggest downsides of telemedicine are the difficulty in checking whether the prescriptions and patients are genuine.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare wants to allow first-time telemedicine appointments at weekends, evenings and public holidays. Currently only follow-up sessions can be done at those times. It also wants to extend the scope of underserved regions eligible for telemedicine services.
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