Materia Medica Malaysiana

November 26, 2004

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Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 1:58 pm

Long wait at hospital draws complaints

THE Health Ministry has been urged to upgrade services and reduce the waiting time for patients at the Kajang Hospital in Selangor, reported Tamil Nesan.
According to the daily, even those going to the emergency unit needed to wait for a long time.
It cited a case on Monday where a patient who arrived at the unit at 5pm was attended to only at 10pm.
The daily quoted the patient, R. Krishnamoorthy, as saying that he had gone to the hospital as he had high fever.
It also quoted another patient, S. Arokiamary, who complained that those in outpatient clinics frequently had to wait very long to see the doctors.

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Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 4:30 am

Medical Faculty Capacity To Be Upgraded To Ease Docs’ Shortage

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 (Bernama) — Efforts are underway to upgrade the capacity of medical faculties in local universities by increasing the number of lecturers, laboratories and apparatus in a move to tackle doctors’ shortage in the country, the Dewan Rakyat was told Thursday.

This would enable every faculty to increase medical students’ intake, Higher Education Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Datuk Dr Adham Baba said.

“This is only an alternative to building new medical faculties as the construction will incur huge cost,” he said when replying to Datuk Liow Tiong Lai (BN-Bentong) during question time.

Replying to Liow’s supplementary question, Dr Adham said the government would consider applications from foreign universities and private higher learning institutions to set up medical faculties in Malaysia.

“The ministry will consider their applications after studying the justification in terms of requirement, location, suitability and the applicants’ affordability before granting approval,” he said.

Dr Adham said the government also encouraged local private tertiary learning institutions with university status to offer the courses.

He said there were also private colleges offering the courses on a twinning programme between local and foreign universities.

“Nevertheless, it must be stated that upgrading training is only one of the solutions to doctors’ shortage.

“The factors that encouraged doctors to remain in the government service should also be given attention,” he said.

Replying to a supplementary question from Baharum Mohamed (BN-Sekijang), Dr Adham said currently the ministry did not control the intake quota of medical students by private universities as applicants apply directly to the universities of their choice without having to go through the ministry.

Baharum had asked whether the government controlled intake of medical students by private universities as they are found to favour foreign students than locals to offer the courses.

November 25, 2004

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Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 1:29 pm

Ruse to obtain cheap medical treatment

SANDAKAN: Illegal immigrants are now using the identity cards of Malaysians to obtain cheap medical treatment at government hospitals.

The ruse had been detected at the Duchess of Kent Hospital whose management have not ruled out the possibility that illegal immigrants might have “borrowed” or used lost identity cards of Malaysians to register as patients.

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Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 6:11 am

Ban this killer jelly

A consultant pathologist has urged the authorities to ban cup jelly candy as it poses a high suffocation risk among children.

Prof Dr Kasinathan Nadesan of the University Malaya Medical Centre told The Malay Mail that most children sucked the jelly straight from its container after lifting the tab.

Due to the texture of the jelly, it gets sucked straight into the throat and this may cause children to choke.

“If the blockage is not cleared quickly the victim may die within minutes,” Dr Nadesan said when asked to comment on the death of three-year-old Wong Poh Yan on Sunday.

November 24, 2004

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Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:01 pm

Smoking to be banned in workplaces

PUTRAJAYA: Smoking will be banned in all workplaces under a new regulation on indoor air quality to be drawn up in six months.

The regulation would stipulate what constitutes indoor air quality in office and office buildings and is aimed at clamping down on smoking in workplaces.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn said at present, there was a general provision under the Occupational Safety and Health Act that required employers to maintain air quality.

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Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:18 pm

Ministry Sacks 46 Foreign Doctors

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 (Bernama) — The Health Ministry terminated the contracts of 46 foreign doctors for poor performance and indiscipline this year, the Dewan Rakyat was told Wednesday.

Health Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Lee Kah Choon said those dismissed were 19 Pakistanis, 12 Indians, 12 Egyptians, two Indonesians and a Bangladeshi.

He said their services were terminated after evaluations by department heads found they had disciplinary problems and had not achieved the standard of work required.

“Since many doctors recruited on contract from these countries have been terminated, we will reduce the intake from those countries in future,” he said in reply to Dr Mohamed Hayati Othman (PAS-Pendang) who wanted to know the action taken against foreign doctors who performed below expectation.

Replying to a question from Mohamed Yusop Majid (BN-Setiu), Lee said the Ministry employed 728 foreign doctors on contract and 94 per cent of them did their jobs well.

India supplied the most foreign doctors with 271, followed by Pakistan (167), Egypt (122), Myanmar (85), Bangladesh (29), Indonesia (23), Iraq (8), Canada (5), Singapore and Iran (4) and Australia (2).

Nepal, Sri Lanka, Japan, Somalia, Mauritius, Jordan, Syria and the Philippines provided one doctor each.

Lee said the Ministry would continue employing foreign doctors to ease the shortage in the country.

Replying to Datuk Dr Junaidy Abdul Wahab (BN-Batu Pahat), Lee said foreign doctors were recruited after they passed an interview conducted in their home countries.

He said they would be placed in a hospital here and evaluated by their department head before being sent to hospitals that needed their services, he said.

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Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:48 am

Bird flu again detected in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR — A recent discovery of bird flu among some 200 poultry has dashed Malaysia’s hope of declaring the country free of the disease, the Veterinary Services Department said Tuesday.

The department had been expected to make the much-awaited announcement this week. It has been more than 21 days since the last case of the H5N1 strain of the virus was detected on Oct 10. The 21-day period has been set as the criteria by the World Organization for Animal Health. (Kyodo News)

November 23, 2004

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Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:28 am

Over 80% of blindness preventable, says group

SUBANG: About 80% of 500,000 Malaysians who are visually impaired could have avoided being inflicted with the handicap.

Unfortunately, said Malaysian Association of the Blind president Datuk Dr Ismail Mohd Salleh, due to lack of awareness and preventive measures, visual impairment was becoming a serious problem.

“Blindness has profound personal and socio-economic consequences. The loss in productivity, and the cost of rehabilitation and education of the blind burden the economy.

“The key in avoiding the problem is to create awareness,” he said at the launch of the Orbis flying hospital at the Terminal 3 tarmac here yesterday.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad said about 90% of the world’s blindness was avoidable, preventable and treatable with available interventions.

“According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), every five seconds one person in the world is going blind and a child goes blind every minute,” Dr Abdul Latiff said, in a speech at the launching, read out by the ministry’s deputy director of medical development, Dr Mohd Raili Haji Suhaili.

“An estimated 180 million people worldwide are visually disabled and 40 million to 50 million of them are blind,” said Dr Abdul Latiff.

WHO estimated that by the year 2020, the number of blind people in the world would double, unless something was done to stop the trend.

“Blindness knows no boundaries, borders or barriers. It cuts across continents, countries and cultures,” he said.

He commended Orbis for flying around the world and saving people’s sight and minimising incidents of blindness by offering hands-on training for eye care professionals.

The flying hospital’s doctors screen patients with difficult eye problems, referred to them by hospitals and clinics. Some cases are surgically corrected.

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Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:20 am

CCM turning to pharmaceuticals

CHEMICAL Company of Malaysia Bhd (CCM), already a stable company with a solid earnings base in the fertiliser and chemicals business, is turning to pharmaceuticals as its next growth contributor.

Managing director Dr Mohamad Hashim Tajudin said plans were already in place to expand the pharmaceuticals business, which was expected to contribute strongly to earnings in the near future.

“We intend to achieve an optimum 40% contribution from pharmaceuticals and 30:30 equally from fertiliser and chemicals. That is the long-term aim of the company,” he told StarBiz in an interview.

Hashim said the company had started on a RM50mil expansion of its pharmaceuticals factory, Upha Pharmaceuticals in Bangi, to be completed by 2006 and fully operational by 2007. “With the expansion, we hope to increase the capacity by 50%,” he added.

Hashim said CCM would now concentrate on the manufacturing side after selling off its retailing outlets, undertaken through Prima Health Pharmacy.

The sale, completed recently, is expected to boost CCM’s bottom line as Prima Health is running at a loss of RM3mil a year.

Apart from manufacturing generic drugs and vitamins, CCM is also venturing into the distribution of drugs manufactured by Impax Laboratories of the United States, where CCM has a small stake in the Nasdaq-listed counter.

The stake was purchased in 1997 at US$2 per share and is now hovering at about US$15 per share.

But Hashim said the distribution rights with Impax held a lot of potential as it would enable CCM to distribute and market the drugs produced by Impax in Malaysia and other South-East Asian countries.

It is also looking at collaborating with Impax to produce generic drugs in Malaysia to be sold in this region.

Other than Impax, CCM also holds shares in another biotechnology start-up in Vancouver, Cardiome Pharma, which is developing drugs to treat cardiac diseases.

CCM’s initial investment in Cardiome is C$2 per share and is now estimated to be worth between C$5 and C$6.

Despite the focus on pharmaceuticals, Hashim said the two other divisions, fertiliser and chemicals, would continue to be developed.

“For instance, we are looking at doing more business within the PNB group of companies. And together with other non-PNB plantation players, we are hoping of increasing the sales volume of our fertiliser by about 20% to 30%,” he said.

Hashim said the company’s chemical business was also doing well, with stable demand from the oleochemicals and water treatment sectors.

November 21, 2004

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Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:16 am

Expired Chinese Traditional Medicines Being Sold

JOHOR BARU, Thurs. – Negligence and the failure of retailers to keep an inventory of their stocks have led to expired traditional medicines being sold in Chinese medical halls.

Most of the medicines are imported from China.

According to the Federation of Chinese Physicians and Medicine Dealers’ Associations of Malaysia, most of the over 5,000 Chinese medical halls in the country do not keep an inventory of their traditional medicines.

Its secretary, Thong Choong Khat, said such medicines had a shelf life ranging from two to three years like the Western medicines registered with the Health Ministry.

“However, most of the retailers do not keep an inventory of their stocks with regards to the manufacturing, purchase and expiry dates like what their counterparts in pharmacies are doing.

“As a result, it is common for them to accumulate stocks of traditional medicines after some time and unknowingly sell them to their customers even after the expiry date.

“This may not be a problem in cities as most consumers usually check the date. The problem occurs in rural areas as most villagers do not know about expiry dates.”

Thong said retailers selling expired medicines were projecting a bad image.

This was especially so if the products were manufactured by factories which did not adhere to good manufacturing practices, he added.

He urged all the retailers to keep an inventory of their stocks so that they could easily monitor the shelf life of their medicines.

He also wanted the local agents of traditional medicines to liaise with the retailers on removing medicines from the shelf several months before the expiry date.

He said the public should exercise extra caution when buying traditional medicines.

There were also cases of fake traditional medicines with fake registration numbers, he said.

“To check the authenticity of a medicine and whether it has been registered with the ministry, look at the website of the National Pharmaceutical Control Bureau.

“If the name cannot be found on the website, it is either because the medicines have yet to be registered with the ministry or they are fake products,” he added.

The website address is http://www.bpfk. gov.my.

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