COMMENT | Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) council members recently had the opportunity to have a meeting on July 12 and presented the following topics to Health Minister Dzulkely Ahmad. Issues pertaining pharmacists in Malaysia:
1. Pharmacy Bill
As of now, the Pharmacy Bill which had been drafted over the past 20 years has yet to be tabled in Parliament. There are many benefits with regards to pharmacists in this Bill. However, the objection towards this Bill by MPS still stands on various issues, which was decided by the previous government, which will heavily impact the patients, especially on medication safety.
MPS will support the Pharmacy Bill if the following criteria are fulfilled:
• Mandatory prescription must be issued by prescribers as it is the right of patients
• Include the indication for the medication into the prescription except for certain diseases such as HIV, Aids, STDs, etc.
• Compounding can only be carried out by a registered pharmacist
• Dispensing of psychotropic substances can only be done by a registered pharmacist
• Pharmacy assistant has to work under the supervision of a registered pharmacist
The above points had been raised in previous letters to the government and it is hoped that the new Pharmacy Bill will be tabled immediately for the betterment of all parties.
2. Dispensing Separation (DS)
This is a separate issue from the Pharmacy Bill. It must be solved for the betterment of the rakyat from the aspect of patient safety and medication safety. Presently, DS already exists in five out of six of the healthcare systems in Malaysia without any legal provisions. In fact, it is a best practice which is supported by the World Health Organisation.
The decision to implement DS in the primary private healthcare setting which involves the general practitioners and community pharmacists lies on the shoulders of the minister. A decision has to be made as soon as possible as the implementation may take the entire period of the current government’s mandate.
All parties must benefit from this initiative, especially the rakyat. The implementation of DS will require several other integrated actions, which include the National Insurances Scheme, National Drug Formulary, standardisation of medication prices in the National Drug Formulary, zoning for community pharmacy and clinics as well as a thorough explanation to the rakyat.
All developed countries in the world have implemented DS. On top of that, even countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan, India and Pakistan have already implemented DS.
Therefore, DS should be implemented as soon as possible in line with the hopes of the present government to reform the present healthcare system for the sake of the rakyat. The present government must not delay any longer in implementing DS...