The Health Ministry will take action against foreigners running illegal clinics and pharmacies in the country, its deputy minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said.
“Certainly, we will take action because all medical practitioners are supposed to be registered under the Malaysian Medical Council. They are not registered so they can’t practise medicine.
“Even if they are registered, they are supposed to have an annual practising certificate in order for them to practise medicine,” he said in a press conference at SJKT Gunung Rapat here today.
Dr Lee said those caught flaunting the law could be fined up to RM25,000 and jailed up to three years under the Sale of Drugs Act 1952.
Dr Lee was commenting on a recent news report, which highlighted the existence of illegal clinics and pharmacies that operated with impunity in Jalan Silang in Kuala Lumpur.
The report said these premises are manned by ‘doctors’ from Bangladesh who have dispensaries containing a range of medicine including modern and alternative types, which are imported from the South Asian country.
It is learnt that the medicine is smuggled from Bangladesh by a middleman who turns a profit by supplying them to the busy ‘clinics’. Lower costs and lack of red tape are among the reasons why foreign workers prefer to seek treatment from these ‘doctors’.
“On top of that, when they are dispensing drugs and when the medicines are dispensed not by doctors, not by pharmacists, we can take action against them under the Sale of Drugs Act 1952,” he said.
Asked if the ministry was aware of the issue, Dr Lee said the ministry had received a report on such activities.
“We had received reports on foreigners practising medicine in Malaysia… not just western medicine but also traditional medicine. We do take sporadic action against those involved,” he said.
Dr Lee added that the ministry would conduct checks as well as raids against unregistered foreign ‘doctors’ who run clinics and pharmacists illegally in the country.