Government Urged to Reveal Pharmacy Bill Contents

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The Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society, an advocate of initiatives that benefit the profession and the rakyat, calls for a waive of Sales and Service Tax (SST) for medicines

KUALA LUMPUR, 8th July, 2018 – Malaysia Pharmacy Society (MPS)
president, Amrahi Buang hoped the government will reveal the remaining
contents of the proposed Pharmacy Bill which is still currently under the wraps
of the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

“We’ve not heard anything about the Pharmacy Bill since September last year.
Is the government going to proceed with it or not?” asked Amrahi.

“We are also unsure what is stated in the Bill and will only know once it is
brought to Parliament,” he added.

Amrahi said the last official statement regarding the proposed Pharmacy Bill was made in September 2017 when the former Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam was then widely quoted as saying the ministry was waiting for the Attorney-General’s Chambers’
approval before the Bill could be tabled in Parliament. This was following
discussions with various stakeholders.

It was also reported in 2017 the Bill was redrafted and finalised to retain the
system of allowing doctors and pharmacists to dispense medicine.

Health Minister Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad mentioned on 6th of July that the Pharmacy
Bill may include a new law which allows the Ministry of Health to regulate prices
of drugs in the private market.

“We hope the government will be able to shed some light on this proposed Bill
and inform the masses when it will be tabled in Parliament. Many, including
pharmacists, would like to know more about the Bill and how it will affect them,”
Amrahi added.

On a separate matter, Amrahi stressed that pharmacists can and should play
an instrumental role in supporting the government’s efforts to re-brand and
upgrade healthcare in the country.

Amrahi said pharmacists, including community pharmacists, do not just
dispense medicines but can also initiate medical interventions.
In fact, a 2015 survey by the Health Ministry revealed many of those interviewed
had hoped for additional counselling sessions with pharmacists.

“Pharmacists can offer their professional services, like leading sessions for
those intending to quit smoking and also manage minor ailments, such as
cough, cold and pain, to name a few. In fact under the current provisions of the
Poisons Act 1952, a community pharmacist with a Type A license can prescribe
certain Group C poisons to relieve patients of their symptoms. Pharmacists,
especially those in the private sector, can play a much bigger role to serve the
society,” said Amrahi.