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IMA asks doctors to avoid telemedicine

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NEW DELHI: The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has issued an advisory to all its members not to prescribe medicines over the phone. This advisory has come in the wake of a Mumbai High Court order in a case of alleged medical negligence.

"The doctor should prescribe medicines after doing a thorough check-up of the patient. So, do not subscribe medicines on the basis of the symptoms explained by the patient on phone, as it will benefit both the doctor and patient," the advisory said.

Dr R N Tandon, Secretary General, IMA, said: “Doctors should do a thorough examination of the patient before prescribing the medication. When a patient comes to the doctors, the doctor can diagnose the illness properly and then give the medicines.”

He said, “Online consultations, online prescriptions and telemedicine are all topics which have posed ethical dilemmas.”

As the code of ethics is silent on this emerging area, judicial over activism can be detrimental to the profession.

Dr Tandon has requested the Medical Council of India to come out with clear cut guidelines on these important issues.

He declared that telephonic consultations are legally and ethically incorrect in the strict sense. Their judicious use in certain circumstances can be justified.

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