Oriental medicine professionals' duty to inform patients

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Oriental medicine has constituted a significant portion of health care in Korea, but discussion regarding the legal duties of Oriental medicine professionals has been marginalized. This article proposes the first step in discussing the duty of Oriental doctors and pharmacists to inform their patients about the medicine they provide. It begins by introducing the only decision the Supreme Court of Korea has made regarding the legal obligation of Oriental medicine professionals, where the Court held that the Oriental medicine retailer had a duty to provide information about the medicine being sold. This article supports that decision of the Supreme Court and further argues that other primary providers of Oriental medicine - Oriental doctors and pharmacists - should also bear the duty to inform. The conclusion is driven from the fundamental principle of the Korean Constitution: that everyone is entitled to the right to self-determination. In discussing the scope of information doctors and pharmacists should provide, this article notes the unique features of Oriental medicine used in Korea. The author concludes that Oriental doctors and pharmacists should inform their patients of the nature and effect of the medicine being provided, detailed usage instructions, potential risks associated with the medicine, and information regarding combined use with conventional medicine. As for restorative Oriental medicine, doctors and pharmacists should particularly provide instructions regarding its unique restorative purpose.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-19
Number of pages17
JournalIssues in Law and Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jun

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health Policy


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