I refer to the response from the Health Ministry “Ministry will ensure charges won’t burden patients” (NST, Aug 2). The Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society is heartened to note the positive response.
The society appreciates the ministry’s recognition of the pharmacist’s role in healthcare provision and is mindful of the need to prioritise patients’ financial well-being while delivering pharmaceutical care.
It is deemed another initiative by the ministry to ensure best practices in healthcare.
The suggestion to have several things put into place such as a fair pricing system, standardisation of service provisions and a monitoring system by the government and the professional body itself is well received by the society, which supports the suggestion.
Collective efforts are being made to standardise medicine charges, accredit community pharmacies through benchmark standards and making sure the “Continuing Professional Development” programme is compulsory for all pharmacists.
These initiatives will raise the standard of pharmacy practice.
On another note, the society would like to allay the fears expressed by Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) president Datuk Marimuthu Nadason that medicines for minor ailments, like a strip of tab Panadol at RM2, may end up costing RM7 if the RM5 pharmacist’s professional fees are charged. The society would like to stress that medicine retailed off the shelf, that is, one that does not involve the pharmacist’s professional time, will not include professional fees. The society realises Fomca has only the interest of the consumers at heart, whom the society is also keen to protect The end result of all healthcare delivery must be quality service at affordable prices for the people.
Hence, the suggestion by the ministry will be studied and implemented without burdening patients while fulfilling the vision of the ministry.
Datuk Nancy Ho, President, Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society, Kuala Lumpur