FDA to hold hearing on if people can self-scan for prescriptions

File: prescription drugs.
File: prescription drugs.
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There’s an old saying that a doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient. But more and more “patients” are treating themselves, too, with help from the Internet.

The Food and Drug Administration are now preparing to hold hearings on whether consumers should be able to use new technologies to self-screen for some medications that now require a doctor’s visit and a prescription.

The drugs under consideration are limited to common treatments for asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and migraine headaches.

Regulators will consider whether questionnaires on websites and pharmacy kiosks are enough to determine a patient’s need for certain meds.

They will also determine whether pharmacists can dispense those drugs, after doing in-store consultations with patients.

The FDA's primary concern is that some people who need prescription meds don’t get them because they can’t afford the doctor’s appointment.

The agency will balance that against the risk and potential harm that could result when a doctor isn’t involved.