- Hans Weber
- December 1, 2023
Proposal to Allow Online Prescription Medication Ordering and Delivery Sparks Debate in Czech Republic
A proposal advocating the option for patients to order prescription medications online and have them delivered to their doorstep has resurfaced in recent discussions. The proposal, aimed at improving access for patients who may be immobile, is being considered for inclusion in forthcoming legislation pending approval in the Chamber of Deputies. However, the concept faces opposition from pharmacists and many lawmakers, including those within the government.
The proponent of the proposal, Tom Philipp, a member of the KDU-ČSL party, has reopened the debate, emphasizing that the option to order medications online should be a voluntary choice rather than an obligation. He points out the convenience of ordering medications as easily as other items, such as milk or ice cream, from a computer.
Nevertheless, there is no unanimous agreement, even within the government coalition. Pharmacists also object to the idea, with concerns raised about the dominance of large pharmacy chains potentially compromising medication availability, as currently, four e-shops hold a 90% market share in over-the-counter medicines.
The Czech Chamber of Pharmacists strongly opposes any proposals limiting or eliminating patient interaction with pharmacists, emphasizing the crucial role pharmacists play in explaining medication usage to patients and detecting medication errors.
The National Council for Persons with Disabilities supports medication delivery to patients’ homes, emphasizing the potential cost savings for individuals with disabilities who are unable to visit a pharmacy. They argue that medication delivery empowers individuals to plan and arrange for medication delivery themselves, reducing their reliance on others.
A poll among readers revealed that 55.6% of respondents purchase over-the-counter medications online, reflecting a growing trend in online medication purchases.
Supporters of medication delivery contend that the role of pharmacists in explaining medication usage is often limited, as instructions are commonly provided on the medication packaging. They also argue that whether a relative or courier picks up the medications, there is little control over how the person obtained the QR code.
The proposal to allow online prescription medication ordering and delivery remains a topic of debate, with proponents emphasizing convenience and potential cost savings and opponents concerned about the potential impact on smaller pharmacies and the professional role of pharmacists in patient care. Reaching an agreement with pharmacists is considered essential before proposing further measures, but the outcome remains uncertain. Several countries, including Germany, the United Kingdom, and Denmark, have already implemented prescription medication delivery services.
Article by Prague Forum