Sunday, February 15, 2015

Pharmacies to dispense medicines if proposal accepted. Sunday Star 15th February 2015

This is my letter to the editor of Star, send this morning, after reading the article.

Dear Editor,

I have just read your lead article in your Sunday Star, entitled " Pharmacies to dispense medicines if proposal is accepted".  Pharmacies have always been allowed to dispense. Your headline is misleading. It gives the impression that pharmacies had not been allowed to dispense. Nothing is further from the truth.

However, I appreciate that Ms Christina Chin is trying to highlight the coming Pharmacy Act which proposes to stop doctors from dispensing, so that Pharmacist only can dispense, something we call "Dispensing Separation". Yes, this debate had been on for the last 30 years or more. It was the wisdom of the many previous ministers that prevented it ( Dispensing Separation ) from being made into law. I sincerely hope that this present Minister of Health will also do likewise, and not try and change a system that has stood the test of time.
Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages if doctors only can dispense, and advantages and disadvantages if Pharmacists only can dispense.  If Pharmacists dispensing has so many advantages, example price advantage, drug range advantage and safety advantage, then surely the smart patient will know where to go for their medication. However, if the smart patient wishes to get his/her medication from his/her  doctor, why stop him / her? Patient's right to choose must not be taken away by laws. 
Under the current system, both can dispense, so that patient has the choice and the right, where to get their medications from. The best of both worlds. The current system is good for Malaysia. Why change it and make the system worse for patients, removing their right to choose. 

We however welcome the move by pharmacies to offer a wider range of drugs then doctors. This is a step in the right direction. They can do so even now. Why later?

It is also highly contentious and disputable to say that a Pharmacist knows all about drugs and has a monopoly to knowledge about drugs. It smacks of arrogance. We have seen many many many examples of Pharmacist errors.

It is a shame to see governments make laws just to protect some business and businessmen. It is for good and capable businesses and businessmen to fight the headwinds, seize the opportunities and overcome the business threats and bring success to their business. Not by working with their "friends in government", behind the backs of other stakeholders, to make laws to favour them. This is an abuse of the process.  

Dr Ng Swee Choon ( Voice for the consumers )
75, Jln SS 15/5A Subang Jaya
47500 Petaling Jaya

Tel : 5634 6035


Winston Yap said...

Yes, Doc.
What you said is a load of commonsense.
The present system is the best as the choice is left to the patient.
I, for one, have been availing myself of the right to buy my medicines from the pharmacists at times.
I also know for a fact that some docs mark up their medicine prices making them higher than those charged by the pharmacists.
Perhaps this is due to the fact that the doc has to keep stocks of the medicines and it costs them money to do so.
One doc even charge double the prices of what the pharmacies would be charging!
In conclusion, I would say that the present system of giving the choice to the patients is the best.
So, Doc do whatever you can to prevent any changes to the current system.
By the way, docs must also do everything possible to prevent the NHS, UK health model from being implemented as it is a complete failure.
Only the ignoramus in the Malaysian health services will opt for that.
Thank you.

hmatter said...

Winston, two things have happened since I wrote that.
On the 4th March, DOCTORS STOOD UP AGAINST MOH. I blog this, read on the blog.
Secondly, yes, you are right, this impending HealthCare Re-structuring and Transformation is all about money. It has nothing to do with better HealthCare.
I have come to the conclusion that the best thing ( tough as it is ) is to change this government. I may die before I succeed. But this present strategy of having to fire fight, whenever they ambush us, is too taxing, and they know it.
So all our effort is like guerillas warfare, they chose the time and place to attack us, and we fight them at their chosen battlefield. Ultimately they will win, as you see in Vietnam. Unless the Rakyat wakes up and change the tenant at Putrajaya.

Winston Yap said...

It looks like the tenant in Putrajaya is doing all it can to split PAS and in effect split Pakatan Rakyat.
Now, it's a well known fact that PAS now has a president who is more pro UMNO than pro PR!!!
It is the weakest link in the coalition and the government is driving a wedge in that party.
However, all is not lost if the technocrats, who are logical and steadfast, can dethrone the mullahs.
I understand that they are having an election this month.
Hopefully, this technocrat faction can gain the upperhand over the religious fanatics.
The alternative is for PAS to be kicked out and for these technocrats to go over to either PKR or DAP.
And bring their followers with them.
So, maybe, just maybe, all is not lost.
Thank you.