onsdag 26 maj 2010

Internet doctoring

I write in The Daily Telegraph together with Charlotte Cederschiöld about Internet Doctoring on 11 June 2005.

The European Commission plans to provide the public with more information on pharmaceuticals through a public database. A pilot starts this autumn. The database is a step towards establishing the European e-Health Area, where patients can access online health services. It will reduce errors and delays, and allow teleconsultations and electronic trading.

The complexity of the decisions to be made favours the local knowledge of the patient rather than central health care planners. Better-informed patients will acquire better control of their health as medicine grows more individualised. Europeans should be allowed to compare freely EU members’ health services.

Patients now visit their doctor with the latest information on their specific ailment, and a clear picture of present alternatives, which is indeed a positive development for personal responsibility.

In Sweden, with a government retail monopoly on pharmaceuticals, we have seen that lack of open information and choice is inefficient and unjust. The European Court of Justice has rightly moved to dismantle the monopoly.

The public database and the Swedish case show that the EU can promote freer markets and consumer choice. It is time to liberalise information to the public, for the sake of health and to improve Europe’s pharmaceuticals market.
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