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Title: Challenges of the Pharmacy Profession
Date: 27-Nov-2003
Category: Issues and Guidance

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.   They are categorised 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.

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. 

The list is not exhaustive and you are welcome to increase the list.  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. .

Challenges of the Community Pharmacists (iBulletin 031030)

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

Challenges of the Private Hospital Pharmacists (iBulletin 031106)

1. Lack of recognition 
2. Look upon as purchasers only 
3. Pharmaceutical diagnosis 
4. Lack of opportunity in training 
5. Contact with patient minimal 
6. Too much paper work 
7. In some hospitals there are no pharmacists 
8. Hospital employing SPM and secondary school
9. Hospital not interested to invest in pharmacy equipment's (counting machines, software)
10. Hospital authorities do not encourage research into patient care outcome 
11. Pharmacist performing tasks not related to pharmacy practice
12. No specialist post
13. Program of pharmacist on ward rounds not acceptable.
14. No documentation of activities for research
15. Hospital pharmacists not able to access patient notes for research
16. Hospital pharmacists not given access to patient notes when dispensing
17. Long hours.

Challenges of the Factory Pharmacists (iBulletin 0311013)

1. Lack of professional development training
2. Left out of he mainstream of professional activities
3. Some pharmacists at the factory do not feel it necessary to follow the profession  - behave more like a lineman instead of professional
4. Lack of opportunity for research and even if there is the results are considered as company secrets
5. Lack of information available to do research for product development. Have to go overseas.
6. Tough requirements imposed by the regulatory unit, especially for traditional medicine.
7. Lack of employment flexibility ? there are very few manufacturing companies in Malaysia

Challenges of the House Pharmacists (iBulletin 031120)
1.Lack exposure to retail pharmacy (for government hp)
2.Lack exposure to health supplements industry (for governmentt hp)
3 Lack exposure to govt pharmaceutical svcs, regulatory/enforcement (private HP)
4.Low pay / allowance.
5.Lack of guidance,  not shown overall plan of management of a pharmacy department
6.Not involve in decision making


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