MPS on Pharmacy Bill: Medication and Patient Safety First

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Reports state that the price of medicine in Malaysia is the highest in the region despite the fact that medicines imported into the country are non-taxable.

27 September 2017, Puchong, Malaysia – Referring to the recent statements from the Health Minister on the Pharmacy Bill, President of the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society, Amrahi Buang in a recent press release said, “Pharmacists and consumers are on the same page when it comes to the Pharmacy Bill; we want medication and patient safety.”

It was reported that recently, the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association (FOMCA) CEO Paul Selvaraj said that patients, as consumers, have the right to make informed buying decisions and should not be forced to buy medication from private practitioners.

Reinforcing this notion even further, Amrahi said: “MPS is on the same page and we are on board with empowering patients by educating them on their rights to a prescription. We have launched an ‘Ask for your Prescription’ campaign since last year.”

He added, “However, we have advised to make it mandatory for primary care doctors to provide a complete prescription as it will benefit the patient. It is easier to educate a doctor to provide a complete prescription than to educate a whole nation to ask for a complete prescription.”

When asked about what the pharmacy community thought about the dispensation separation issue, Amrahi said it isn’t news to the pharmacy community and with current laws in place, doctors are still allowed to dispense.

Commenting further, he added, “If the government chooses to maintain the status quo we can only do our part by voicing out the need for a safety net in the private primary care setting. We are not at war with the doctors, and that must be clear. We are advocating medication and patient safety as well as demanding the right to practice what we have been educated for.”

Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society President, Amrahi Buang

Taking to social media to voice out his opinion, Lim Kean Ping, a community pharmacist wrote, “Judges, lawyers and policemen carry out their jobs independently to protect the rights of the citizens. The same should be in the healthcare sector. No one should diagnose, treat, dispense, compound, counsel, and monitor medical progression without anyone to check and balance. Healthcare is never a one man show.”

MPS reports that there has been similar thoughts aired on social media by other community pharmacists, with the majority of them hoping that doctors would provide complete prescriptions to patients who request for one.

“I have received prescriptions that only have the brand name without any dosing instructions and attempts to contact the prescribers sometimes fail, so I have to send the patient back to the clinic,” shared one community pharmacist by the name of Santhanathan Rajendram.

Amrahi agrees with the sentiments of the pharmacy community: “Five sectors out of 6 are already carrying out separation of medicine dispensing – the public sector in the primary care, secondary care and tertiary care and the private sector in the secondary and tertiary care. The only sector that did not have the separation system is the private primary health care.”

Amrahi encouraged the public to attend the World Pharmacist Day 2017 celebration on 7 October 2017 at Aeon Mall Bukit Raja, Klang as MPS, in collaboration with Selangor State Health Department and the Pharmaceutical Services Division will be showcasing pharmacists and the roles they play in the nation’s healthcare system as per the theme “From research to health care: Your pharmacist is at your service.”