KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12 — Lanang MP Alice Lau has questioned the legality of DoctorOnCall’s online pharmacy that sells prescription medicines to the public without necessitating a doctor’s visit.
DoctorOnCall is a digital health care platform that provides virtual medical consultation through video calls or chats, besides hosting an online pharmacy with prescription drugs and other medicines for a range of illnesses.
People can purchase medicines from DoctorOnCall’s online pharmacy first before getting a doctor’s prescription, unlike brick-and-mortar pharmacies that require a prescription before one can buy prescription drugs.
“I would like to seek an answer from the Ministry of Health (MOH) regarding a portal, www.doctoroncall.com.my, where the public is allowed to purchase medicine online without meeting a doctor physically,” Lau, who is also a pharmacist, said in Parliament yesterday during her debate on Budget 2021.
“I also browsed the website of the portal and found that medicines listed under Groups B and C of the Poison List are also available to purchase online,” the DAP lawmaker added.
According to Poisons Act 1952, there are four groups of medicines supplied in the country: Group A, Group B, Group C, Group D.
Only a licensed pharmacist with Type A license is allowed to sell poisons listed under Group B, with a compulsory prescription given by a registered medical practitioner. Group C poisons can be supplied by a community pharmacist without a doctor’s prescription.
“I would like to know whether there are any Acts in Malaysia which permit services like DoctorOnCall to operate? If there is, I would like to ask for its reference so that the interests and safety of the people can be protected,” Lau said.
In February, MOH worked together with DoctorOnCall to provide free virtual public access to consultations with family medicine specialists or medical officers from the ministry to address any uncertainties regarding Covid-19.
However, MOH reminded the public that this mission does not include diagnosis or treatment of patients.