Yes, it sounds ominous, but it is no JK Rowling, it is no fabrication of the H Potter variety. This is healthcare. And it woke me up when I saw the advertisement on Google YouTube today. You see, the advertisement sounds dangerous right off the bat. And the weird part is that the warnings at ABC are two years old. They gave us (at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-05/instant-online-prescription-app-raises-medical-safety-concerns/11925700) ‘‘Instant’ prescription providers prompt warnings from GPs and pharmacists’. There we see “Doctor and pharmacist peak bodies are voicing concerns about online services offering “instant” prescriptions to people who fill out a digital questionnaire, arguing they heighten the risk to patients.” In addition we get “Instant Scripts is one of several online platforms offering immediate prescriptions for medications such as pain management, steroid creams and anti-depressants by having patients fill out a digital questionnaire.” So first we get the entire Oxycontin issue, and now they let an online setting handle pain management? How long until someone gives the people the setting if you need Drug A, you need to answer the following questions (and so on). So how dangerous is this setting?
I personally believe that it is very dangerous. The fact that a patient (optionally an addicted one) can circumvent both doctor and pharmacy is likely the most dangerous one of all and I reckon the makers covered themselves with “You must always be completely honest” or something of that effect. Yes, because a written warning always helps when the person is addicted. So when we get to “But the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia are both concerned a growing number of companies are trying to shake up traditional healthcare in the name of convenience.” I wonder whether it will be convenience or profit that some companies will adhere to.
As such I have issues and perhaps they are hot valid ones, but the ABC supported my train of thoughts hours ago on the 5th of February 2020. Whatever we call it, an algorithm, a script that leads to a prescription, the only one who can do it safely is the GP of the patient and I have seen several options from my GP so wonder how essential that ‘instant’ part is. And when the issues start, when the complications start, where will the app builders be? Where will the people be who signed of on this? Simple questions that the greed driven will avoid and counter with some claim that is likely to have little foundation in reality. Is an app like this valid? If we take away the ‘instant’ part yes. In rural settings this app could do a lot of good, take away the stress from several parties, least of all the patient, but the ‘instant’ part makes it dangerous. It to some effect reverberates in another statement I saw today. “We cannot get rid of guns, but what if a citizen needs to be over 25 to own one?” I feel that this idea has merit. We cannot control the immediate, so what happens when we set the age, just like voting and alcohol? And it is the same for this app. ‘Instant’ is not acceptable, but the app itself could do a lot of good, if only it goes via a GP for approval, and this GP has to sign off on it. Suddenly ‘instant’ no longer applies, is no longer valid. Consider the doctor signing off on a prescription that has lasting damage? This is one issue the doctor cannot avoid, one the pharmacist cannot avoid. And there is reason for this. How many pharmacists selling Oxycontin have gone to prison? I wrote about it as early as 2019 (before the ABC article) in ‘A larger failure’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/10/13/a-larger-failure/) A stage that was even dealt with in 1978, a reference to ‘When in doubt’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/08/31/when-in-doubt/) So well over a year before there is a clear setting that gives pause to anything offered ‘instantly’ and now you want to do away with GP’s and pharmacists (to some degree)?
With them in place there was still a gap to sell 76,000,000,000 opioid pills. How many will the ‘instant’ marker allow for? And the moment the people see the Google advertisement and figure out that certain combinations guarantee certain ‘solutions’ how will this not go from bad to worse?
On the other hand, if we can get rid of 35% of the population this way, go right ahead, it will benefit nature in other ways. So have a good thought of what you want and how you want it.