Challenges of the Pharmacy Profession
The challenges facing the pharmacy profession seems never-ending. And it should not end, less the profession becomes complacent and lack the drive to go towards excellence. These challenges will be highlighted from this issue onwards. We would categorise them into the various pharmacy disciplines within the Malaysian context. No attempt will be made yet to qualify the statements below, but you are welcome to do so.
Below is a list of challenges facing the community pharmacy sector:
1. Young inexperienced pharmacists starting pharmacy
2. Excessive commercialism like aggressive price undercutting
3. Pharmacists job hopping / staff pinching
4. Discriminate price differential between doctors and pharmacies
5. Excessive promotion / discounts by chainstores affecting credibility of independent pharmacies
6. Pharmacy sells everything saleable and not related to health, and none evidenced-based products
7. Practising Pharmaceutical Care
8. Impact of National Health Financing
9. Reclassification of products from Group B to C eg Antihypertensives; Cholesterol-lowering agents; Cox-2 agents; anti-gout preparations
10. Introducing IT in PMR and CPE
11. Subscribing to Pharmacy Practice Benchmarking Guidelines
The list is not exhaustive and you are welcome to increase the list. Do you have an opinion on how to overcome these challenges? We welcome your input ? in one paragraph or ten. If the profession is to play a major role in our healthcare system, we have to speak up and be more opinionated at least through the institution and the mass media. The public need to know that we care and is a thriving, contributing community.
Talking informally or in mamak stalls will not help. The maturity of a profession would depend on the commitment and interests shown by its members in the profession and what role they play in society as an individual or as an institution. Needless to say, the medical profession has done well in this area.