Internet pharmacies can do a good job of patient counseling

August 14, 2008

This is based on results of a new study reported in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Face-to-face physician consultation over erectile dysfunction medications may not be better than the use of an online prescribing service. In fact, the reverse is true, based on the results of a new study reported in the August issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings. The researchers found that the e-medicine system outperformed the traditional system in most of the safety variables tested. For instance, more patients who got their ED drugs online received educational materials about their medicine than patients who visited a physician's office. These results are based on 1,000 patient medical records randomly selected from men seeking ED treatment from Jan. 1, 2001, to Dec. 31, 2005. Of these, half of the patients used an Internet prescribing service that the state of Utah had signed a contract with and the other half met with a physician. On the strength of their study, the researchers recommend that state regulatory agencies "consider using the regulatory model of oversight protections implemented by the state of Utah to license Internet prescribing companies."

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