Materia Medica Malaysiana

March 30, 2008

No decision to stop doctors from dispensing medicine

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:17 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has not decided to disallow doctors from dispensing medicines.
Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said yesterday he would like to meet the Malaysian Medical Council, doctors and pharmacists to discuss the matter.
Liow said he was aware of the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society’s proposal for pharmacists to dispense medication to patients.
“At the moment, we are still looking at the proposal.
We have not made any decision yet,” he said after his first official visit to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital yesterday.
Liow was commenting on a New Straits Times report yesterday headlined “Doctors to be disallowed from dispensing medicines” that quoted health director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican as saying that the move was in the pipeline.
He had also said that a pilot project on the proposal would be launched soon.
He said the move could not be implemented earlier because of logistics problems, especially the shortage of pharmacies and pharmacists.
Liow said the most important thing was for the people to have a good healthcare system.
“That is the responsibility of the government. We do not want to burden the rakyat with extra costs,” he said.
The Malaysian Medical Association is against the proposed move to disallow doctors from dispensing medicines.
President Datuk Dr Khoo Kah Lin said the public should decide if they wanted to get medication from either pharmacists or doctors.
He said a doctor’s primary role was to diagnose and treat which included giving appropriate medication to patients.
“Therefore, doctors cannot give up their right to dispense medicine,” he said.
Dr Khoo said doctors were already separating the consultation fee from the cost of medication, to avoid being accused of profit-making in dispensing medicines.
The MMA’s recommended fee for consultation is RM30 for minor ailments. However, doctors generally provide consultation and medication for less than RM30.
Dr Khoo said pharmacists should not be allowed to prescribe medications without a doctor’s prescription.

In another development, a senior medical consultant, who declined to be identified, said some pharmacists were already dispensing medicines and treating patients, especially after checking their glucose level and blood pressure.
“This is already affecting our business,” he said
He said pharmacists should refer patients to doctors for diagnosis and treatment.
“Their work is only to dispense medicines prescribed by doctors. Pharmacists cannot become doctors. They cannot prescribe medicines based on basic tests,” he said.
A doctor in Klang, who only identified himself as Dr Rahim, asked if pharmacies would be open around the clock to cover prescriptions issued by doctors at 24-hour clinics.
“So who is going to dispense medicines in this context, the doctor or the pharmacies?” he asked.
The Malaysian Dietary Supplement Association, however, said the proposed move to disallow doctors from dispensing medicines was long overdue.
Its president, Jagdev Singh, said pharmacists were best suited to dispense medicines because they were more knowledgeable about “drug to drug interaction, drug to health interaction and adverse reactions”.

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