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National Pharmacy News

Title: BLESS is no blessing, say frustrated pharmacists
Date: 30-Dec-2016
Category: Free Malaysia Today

Free Malaysia Today, December 30, 2016

PETALING JAYA: Pharmacists scrambling to apply for their annual retention certificates (ARC) are hampered by the inefficiencies of the Business Licensing Electronic Support System (BLESS).

In a statement, Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) said a recent survey showed 77.6% of respondents encountered problems using the internet-based system to apply for business licences and 65.3% of respondents had yet to receive the ARC they applied for.

The common complaints were the system’s lack of user friendliness, recurrent system down times, and frequent failures to record registrations and payments.

“Last year, I had to pay twice after my first attempt was not recorded and I was logged out automatically.

“This year, after failing a few times to reach the payment step, I was finally able to pay successfully. However, it has been two months and I have yet to receive my ARC,” said pharmacist Abdul Aziz Faza.

Senior pharmacist Mujahid Ismail had similar problems with payment using BLESS.

“Despite having submitted my payment, the BLESS system showed my payment as still pending.

“I will have to claim a refund while I resubmit my application with a new payment as there is no option to save and edit.”

MPS president Amrahi Buang said the society had written about the problems to Lembaga Farmasi Malaysia (LFM).

“LFM should consider incorporating the ARC application as a module under the My.Pharm-C system, or engage with a vendor that has a reliable track record.

“BLESS is overloaded due to the high volume of users, who are not just pharmacists,” he said.

Amrahi urged LFM to set up a proper complaint channel to enable pharmacists to submit proof of submission so that they were not subject to a late fine.

He said LFM should also extend the Dec 31 deadline for the ARC application until the issues were completely resolved.

BLESS was launched in 2008 with the aim of increasing speed, transparency and predictability in the application and approval of licences, with the system showing the time taken by the various departments to process the applications.

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