Separate roles of doctors, pharmacists clearly indrug dispensation – MPS


The Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) has called on the separation of roles between doctors and pharmacists in dispensing medicine as the latter becomes more proactive in patient care.

In a statement, MPS president Amrahi Buang said that almost three quarters of the healthcare system practises separation of dispensing medicine except for the quarter that does not, namely the primary healthcare clinics.

“The role of a pharmacist in the community setting has evolved. The community pharmacists today assist patients in self-monitoring of their blood glucose levels and blood pressure levels.

“They also provide medication counseling for non-communicable diseases and help to increase patient compliance and adherence to medication therapy. Pharmacists are no longer mere dispensers of medication, they are also synergistic partners in health care and providers of care for consumers and patients,” he said.

Amrahi denied allegations that pharmacists gave out medication without prescriptions, saying that there are strict rules with regards to the supply of medicines in clinics and pharmacies.

“Only Pharmacists with a Type A licence are allowed to sell medicines by retail to patients. As per Malaysian law, only board registered pharmacists can apply for the Poison A license which gives them the right to provide medicine by retail.”

Amrahi pointed out that there is also lack of clarity on the term OTC, or over-the-counter medicines that are not controlled under the Poisons Act 1952 such as non-poison cough, anti-diarrhoeal and anti-constipation medication.

“These types of medicines are available in department stores, convenience stores, clinics and pharmacies, and sundry shops. It is possible that due to the vast amount of places to get these medication, clinics may be feeling the pinch,” he said.

He was responding to a recent news report which claimed that clinics have been affected by pharmacies that are now assuming the functions of doctors by diagnosing patients, recommending alternatives to prescription medicines and even dispensing medication without prescriptions.

In 2015, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam was quoted saying that the government had yet to finalise a proposal to separate the functions of pharmacies and clinics in the country, and is currently in the process of receiving feedback from the public.

Back then, DrSubramaniam said his ministry was also in the process of holding dialogues, especially with medical practitioners, to ensure the proposal can benefit the people.

The dispensing separation proposal was first made by the Malaysian Community Pharmacy Guild (MCPG) in 2008.

The proposal is still under discussion and yet to be approved by the Health Ministry.

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