The Korean Pharmaceutical Association (KPA), a nonprofit organization of pharmacists, opposed the government's push for introducing telemedicine, on Tuesday. The group instead called for building a robust and practical basis to prevent and control infectious diseases.
The pharmacists pointed out that the government is attempting to introduce a telemedicine system with the name of "untact care" under the pretext of providing counseling and prescription to patients over the phone amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Prescribing medicine over the phone allowed under Covid-19 was limited to when safety was secured under the doctors' judgment, including re-diagnosed medication for an elderly or chronic patient who had been monitored for a long time,” the KPA said. “However, the government ignores such a situation and insists that telephone prescription equals telemedicine.”
It is natural that untact care is promoted to solve problems caused by face-to-face care. However, It is a leap of logic to insist on remote treatment that can shake the foundation of the healthcare system.
The group pointed out that the reckless introduction of telemedicine will severely damage the patient's right to health.
It called for the government to not divide public opinion over telemedicine but focus on overhauling the system.
Earlier, the Korea Medical Association, a doctors’ group, also criticized the government for pursuing remote treatment by using Covid-19 as an excuse. The KMA told its member physicians to suspend all counseling and prescription over the phone.
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