PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has urged for proper regulation to be put in place for online healthcare services and medication.
Its president Prof Datuk Dr Subramaniam Muniandy (pic) said in a statement on Saturday (Dec 26) that an audit on such services should be conducted by the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) and the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) to safeguard patients.
“While online health consultations are an important adjunct during the pandemic, it must be accompanied with the highest and strictest standards of data privacy, medico-legal and ethical considerations.
“Doctors who offer online services must take cognizance of the limits of online consultations and should advise patients on face-to-face consultations when cases warrant proper physical examinations or when communication barriers exist online,” he said.
Dr Subramanian also said a comprehensive approach must be taken with every consultation so that an accurate diagnosis can be made by doctors with the appropriate management instituted in the best interest of the patient.
“Convenience must never compromise the safety and health outcomes of patients.
“The sale of medicine is governed by the Poison Act 1952 and its regulations. Any deviation from the rules and regulations of the Act may threaten the patient’s safety and is subject to the legal ambit of the Act, ” he said.
He added that supply of medications for chronic non-communicable diseases (NCD), such as hypertension, diabetes or hypercholesterolemia, must be accompanied by proper counselling, appropriate tests or examinations.
Dr Subramanian highlighted that reviews by medical professionals at regular intervals of three to six months were important to note the efficacy of the treatment.
“Medications should not be repeated without regular follow-ups.
“Online consultation and prescriptions must never be used as ‘a tool of convenience’ for repeated medication supply without the appropriate medical counselling and thorough assessment of patient condition.