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From the President's Desk

Title: Letter to the Editor
Date: 12-Oct-2016

12th October 2016

  1. Affordable medication is a consumers right - eradicate discriminatory pricing practices. Referring to the reports in the StarOnline, 11 October 2016; Lack of control leads to high prices of drugs and Health Ministry working to improve drug industry
     
  2. Affordable medication is a consumers right - eradicate discriminatory pricing practices. Referring to the reports in the TheSunDaily 10 October 2016; MyCC probes 7 local pharma firms for alleged anti-competitive agreements
     
  3. Affordable medication is a consumers right - eradicate discriminatory pricing practices. Referring to the reports in the Malay Mail 10 October 2016; Drug companies probed over unethical practices
     
  4. Affordable medication is a consumers right - eradicate discriminatory pricing practices.
     

The Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society gives great priority to the issue of medical inducement and applauds the MyCC, Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism,and Ministry of Health for their efforts in curbing discriminatory practices of medicine pricing. The highlight and probe into this issue marks the first significant step into curbing unethical and anti-competitive conduct which in turn will go a long way into ensuring affordable and accessible medicine to the rakyat.

MPS has formed a special task force since 2011 to address medical inducement practices. The task force has been working closely with MyCC and will continue to do so in the Steering Committee set up by MyCC which includes the MDTCC, Economic Planning Unit, Pharmaceutical Services Division, Ministry of Health and all the pharmaceutical societies in Malaysia

MPS supports the efforts by the government that are aimed at benefiting the consumers and urges the policy makers to learn and implement the best practices for active competition in the pharmaceutical sector. Inducement of health professionals is a serious issue as it sways a health professional into performing differently from the normal procedure for personal benefits.

Over the years, MPS has been consistent in advocating for the consumers by

  1. supporting consumers in issues related to pricing via the successful petition to classify controlled medication as zero-rated GST in 2015 . MPS is currently waiting for the government's response to the request to zero-rate GST for ALL MALxxxxxxxxX products, that is those ending with the “X”.
     
  2. Educating consumers about their rights and well-being by empowering them to get prescriptions from the prescribers. As said by Prof Datuk Dr Sothi Rachagan, “There would be better transparency if doctors were required to give patients an itemised prescription containing the chemical names of the medicine instead of prescribing a drug by its brand name. This would allow patients to choose the brand of medicine they need”

    Itemized/Complete prescriptions gives the power to the patient/consumer to choose the brand of medication based on affordability, allows the patient to be aware of what medication they have been prescribed and for what indication, allows the patient to have a valid document in hand if they require emergency medication supply (e.g. when travelling) or if they suffer an adverse reaction to a medication. Providing patients with prescriptions are also in line with Antimicrobial resistance campaigns to reduces over prescribing of antibiotics and reduce abuse of dominant positions by ensuring all patients are given prescriptions for group B medication.
     
  3. Assisting to report or reporting inducement and anti-competitive practices that have increased cost of health care. Medication prescribed and dispensed based on business benefits rather than proven medical safety and efficacy compromises a patient’s healthcare as patients are prescribed and dispensed more medication than they actually need in order to meet the contract and medications are being prescribed and dispensed for problems that they are not indicated for. Furthermore, these unethical practices deny or limit the rakyat to access of health professionals who want to stay clean as these health professionals will not be able to compete with those being induced.

 

Pharmacists: Caring for you

Tn Hj Amrahi Buang
President

 

 



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