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National Pharmacy News

Title: The proposed Pharmacy Bill is unjustified
Date: 28-Sep-2017
Description: SM Mohamed Idris | Updated 27 Sep 2017, 4:48 pm


The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) is disappointed with the Health Ministry's decision not to separate the roles of dispensing and prescribing medications. Clearly, the ministry has bowed down to the pressure of the powerful medical lobby in refusing to create a system of separation of duties in dispensing and prescribing.

The separation of dispensing and prescribing is the norm in developed countries. It is most ironic that a nation aspiring to attain high-income status by 2020 takes a retrogressive stand in healthcare practices.

It is completely unjustifiable to say that this is to cater to the needs of patients especially in rural areas. Countries like India and Indonesia with large rural populations have long practiced separation of dispensing and prescribing with no issues.

It is the universal norm that doctors diagnose and prescribe, while pharmacists audit and dispense. To make a policy decision and legislate against this universal practice is absolutely mind-boggling and unfair. On what basis does the ministry deny a profession of its fundamental role?

What should be of paramount importance to the Health Ministry as custodians of public health is medication safety - which has been identified by leading health organisations like the World Health Organization, the US Food and Drug Administration and UK's National Health Service as the main priority in addressing patient safety challenges.organisations like the World Health Organization, the US Food and Drug Administration and UK's National Health Service as the main priority in addressing patient safety challenges.

A 2007 US National Academy of Medicine report showed that medication errors originate most often during the prescription process. At least half of these prescribing errors are detected and corrected when pharmacists review the safety and appropriateness of the medication. Therefore, having the same doctor prescribe and dispense as in Malaysia eliminates that safety net.prescrition process. At least half of these prescribing errors are detected and corrected when pharmacists review the safety and appropriateness of the medication. Therefore, having the same doctor prescribe and dispense as in Malaysia eliminates that safety net.

Standards of general practice in Malaysia are still not up to international mark. We still have doctors not labelling their medications and giving patients just a plastic envelope with some pills in it. It is also common practice that the staff handling medications are not trained for the job.international mark. We still have doctors not labelling their medications and giving patients just a plastic envelope with some pills in it. It is also common practice that the staff handling medications are not trained for the job.

Hence there is no check for the safety and appropriateness of the prescription and any potential medication-related problems. This should be the primary concern of the Health Ministry.

CAP urges the attorney-general to reject this bill as it contravenes the basic principle of medication safety.

 

 

 



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