Many people would balk at the idea of having a consultation with a physician by videoconference. Not in China, apparently. Drug retailer China Yongxin Pharmaceuticals has launched an “electronic diagnosis system” to provide instant albeit remote diagnosis for consumers who enter one of its pharmacies, which are all in Jilin province.
As in other countries, many drugs in China can only be sold against a prescription from a licenced physician. The system connects stores with a centralised service centre where licensed medical doctors provide diagnosis services to patients through an integrated video and audio system.
This service, which is free of charge, enables customers to immediately purchase prescription drugs in one of Yongxin's drugstores instead of having to schedule an appointment with a physician beforehand and potentially going to a competing drugstore.
The company, quoted on the OTC Bulletin Board market in the US, began retail operations in 2004, and in 2005, it gained franchise rights from one of the world's largest drug chains for Jilin province. By the end of 2007, the Company had a retail chain of 93 drug outlets as well as wholesale distribution and manufacturing operations in