President of Malaysia Community Pharmacy Guild Wong Sie Sing replied a letter on “Consider higher costs and inconvenience, on NST Online”.
First, Wong stated that doctors are never officially trained and qualified in dispensing medications. Responsibility of a doctor is to diagnose and treat a patient’s disease.
Second, modern medicine and modern pharmacy have progressed together in the past few centuries which conclude that doctors specialise in diagnosis and treatment of diseases and pharmacists specialise in the medications to treat and prevent diseases.
Pharmacists, who are professional in healthcare and study the elements, formulation and profile of medicine in details to discover and prevent the potential interactions between different drugs.
Also, training enhances pharmacists in dispensing medications professionally and avoiding risks for patients.
Third, pharmacists are the experts in medications in both public and private sectors.
Studies in Malaysia show that pharmacists’ existence do help improving patients’ health, satisfaction and lowering their healthcare fees. Pharmacists learn how to analyse costs and benefits in medications through training.
The government allows non-specialist doctors in private sectors to raise the consultation fee from RM35 to RM125. This is a 257 percent increase, after 10 years later. But specialists’ consultation fee is up to RM180. Consumers can decide whether the new fees are worth for money.
High healthcare cost is not equal to high-quality treatment or best medicine.
Cardiovascular and metabolic medicines with the best remedial results are not prescribed by private doctors, and this is aware by pharmacists as well. And in many countries, huge pharmaceutical manufacturers are urging doctors unethically to prescribe expensive medicines.
Why do people care about the practice of the private doctors and private pharmacists in Malaysia? Money is the key. The fastest and uncontrolled increase in healthcare, especially medications is in the private sector.
No acts in controlling costs of medicines here. Some private healthcare providers might overprescribe and overtreat due to patients’ insistence or monetary consideration.
On the other hand, only few consumers know that more than 19,000 drugs which are registered by the Malaysian Drug Control Authority for treating diseases.
Most private clinics only have 100 registered drugs, meaning the clinics are mostly limited in keeping drugs. Usually patients are not prescribed the best medicines. It will be appropriate to patients get the consultations and medicines in certain place, or else it will delay patients’ recovery or they might need to consult doctors if there’s no improvement.
Lots of community pharmacies are situated near clinics throughout the nationwide, except for the countryside areas in Sabah and Sarawak.
In our move to becoming a high- income nation, all pharmacists should not be left drying in the shops. The 6,000 private doctors should be gracious enough to return their borrowed role in dispensing and focus on becoming real clinicians.
All pharmacists should not stay in the pharmacies. They should broaden their perspectives! Why? There are 6,000 private doctors who need these experts in dispensing medicines. All doctors need to concentrate is how to be real clinicians.
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