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National Pharmacy News

Title: On eve of deadline, pharmacists claim red tape marring registration process
Date: 30-Dec-2016
Category: Malay Mail Online

Malay Mail Online, Dec 30, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30 ― Far from being convenient, the government’s online licencing system has caused massive headaches for pharmacists with many facing difficulties to attain permits due to a variety of defaults, the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) alleged today.

The group said while the Business Licensing Support System (Bless) was meant to ease application, the majority of pharmacists surveyed found the new programme not user-friendly and problematic, with some saying they were unable to register completely, with the deadline to do so tomorrow.

“Pharmacists… are disappointed with the system as it is not user-friendly and the problems encountered ranged from failure to register as the system was always down or the server was overloaded, failure to submit the registration, failure to submit payment and failure to contact the helpline/helpdesk,” the group said in a statement.

Bless was launched on September 5, 2008 and was one of the initiatives by Pemudah ― a government agency set up to cut through application red tapes ― together with the Implementation Coordination Unit of the Prime Minister's Department to develop an internet-based system for the application of business licences.

The system incorporated the pharmaceutical sector in 2014 with the aim to increase speed, transparency and predictability in the application and approval of licences.

The system will show the time taken by the various departments to process the applications in a bid to ensure government department and agencies adhere to their client's charter.

But MPS said today that as many as 70 per cent of pharmacists surveyed had complained Bless had failed to perform its function.

It said the glitches are forcing pharmacists to scramble in submitting their Annual Retention Certificate (ARC) applications.

Putrajaya has set December 31 as the deadline for all registered pharmacists to apply for the ARC via Bless for the year 2016.

Failure to submit applications received after tomorrow will see pharmacists slapped with a RM100 penalty, MPS said.

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

“This year after a few failures 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” pharmacist Abdul Aziz Fazal was quoted as saying by MPS.

MPS president, Amrahi Buang said the group had received continuous complaints since the system's inception and have written to the government to highlight their plight.

One of the suggestions to address the problem was to incorporate the ARC application as a module under an existing My.Pharm-C system.

“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 that are not only pharmacists”, he said in the MPS statement, referring to the Pharmacy Board of Malaysia by its Malay abbreviation.

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