Online Medical Consultations: Legal, Ethical, and Social Perspectives

Online Medical Consultations: Legal, Ethical, and Social Perspectives

Carlisle George (Middlesex University, UK) and Penny Duquenoy (Middlesex University, UK)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 28
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-780-5.ch001
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The growth of the Internet over the last 10 years as a medium of information and as a communication technology has provided the opportunity for selling medical products and services online directly to the public. This chapter investigates online medical consultations used for the purpose of prescribing and hence selling prescription drugs via the Internet. With consumers in mind, this chapter takes a critical look at this growing phenomenon from three perspectives—legal, ethical, and social—as a basis for discussion and to illustrate the problems raised by using the Internet in this way. The chapter concludes that online medical consultations pose greater dangers to patients compared to traditional off-line consultations. The chapter also concludes that while new technologies may aid doctors in making better diagnoses at a distance, they often bring new concerns. Finally, the chapter gives suggestions on safeguarding online consumers.

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