MPS agrees with doctors view on cost saving with dispensing separation
FULL TEXT OF RESPOND TO THE FREE MALAYSIA AND MIMS TODAY NEWS
REFERRING to the posting which was published on Free Malaysia Today news portal as well as MIMS Today the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) would like stand in agreement with a certain Dr Khatijah who wisely claimed that the separation of the roles of doctors and pharmacists would save the doctors a huge portion of expenditure in terms of medications procurement as well as managing the movement of the stocks.
“Separation of dispensing happens in the public hospitals, private hospitals and public health clinics. The only area that has no separation of roles is the private primary healthcare involving GP and community pharmacists.” said Tn Hj Amrahi, President of Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society to reporters.
The roles of a pharmacist in the community setting has evolved. The community pharmacists today assist patients in self-monitoring of their blood glucose levels and blood pressure levels. They also provide medication counseling for non-communicable diseases and help to increase patient compliance and adherence to medication therapy. Pharmacists are no longer mere dispensers of medication, they are also synergistic partners in health care and providers of care for consumers and patients.
Addressing the comment that pharmacist dispense medication without prescriptions, Amrahi further stated, “Firstly, we must be clear that only group B poisons require prescriptions. However, the public will concur that these are hard to come by because most doctors in the private primary care setting refuse to release prescriptions, thus putting the patient at a cost disadvantage and leaves the pharmacist in a situation of having to decline service for patient with chronic disease on long term medication.
He further stated, “There are strict rules to the supply of medicines in clinics and pharmacies. Only Pharmacists with a Type A license can provide medicines by retail to patients. As per Malaysian law, only board registered pharmacists can apply for the Poison A license which gives them the right to provide medicine by retail.”
He added that there is also lack of clarity on the term OTC. The term Over-The-Counter (OTC) medicine is defined as medicines that are not controlled under the Poisons Act 1952. Examples of OTC medicines are non-poison cough preparations, sore throat preparations, anti-diarrhoea preparations and anti-constipation preparations amongst others. These types of medicines are available in department stores, convenience stores, clinics, pharmacies, and sundry shops. It is possible that due to the vast number of places to get these medication, private clinics may be feeling the pinch.
Unfortunately, in Malaysia, there is no separation of dispensing from prescribing at the private primary community level even though at worldwide level it has been shown to provide additional patient safety.
The Poison Act 1952 does give doctors the full freedom to dispense medication by themselves after examining a patient. However, they do not have the freedom to supply medicines by retail from their clinics without providing consultation to the patient first. This legislation is in place to prevent harm to the person seeking treatment.
Patients not only have the right to request for a prescription, they also have the right to know the name (brand/generic) of the medicinal product they have been provided and finally the medication needs to be handed over to the patient by the doctor him/her self and not the clinic staff who may or may not have the correct pharmaceutical training.
In his closing remarks, Amrahi expressed disappointed that certain quarters always used pharmacists as the punching bag. Maybe it is time to conduct a thorough survey as so to why GP’s are shutting down? "
Going to war benefits no party and we must join forces with the authorities to ensure the doctors get their dues via consultation fees and pharmacist get to serve the community as the party that vets and dispense the prescription. This will ultimately bring benefits to the rakyat.
Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society