As our nation goes into its 14th general election, the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) would like to highlight areas to which the government needs to give urgent and immediate attention; issues of patient rights, patient safety, financial sustainability and equitable provision of health.
The MPS is the national association for pharmacists in Malaysia, representing the interests of pharmacists and the public in the area of pharmaceuticals and health. As a non-profit organization, our goal is a progression of pharmacy practice which would benefit public health outcomes, hence our motto: “Berkhidmat Untuk Kesihatan Rakyat”.
Pharmacy has been identified a critical profession in the government's healthcare transformation. There are now 16,000 pharmacists receiving advanced pharmacy education and training that subscribes to international standards. Compulsory service for pharmacists has contributed significantly to professional competency and strengthened the public and private service sectors.
The Government continues to be concerned over the impact of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) on the health of the nation and the escalating costs of treatment; as well as the increasing complexity on medicines on medicine safety.
Pharmacists in both public and private sectors can make a big difference if they are given greater recognition as a healthcare profession and more opportunities to influencing policies affecting public health.
If pharmacists are given a more responsible role in the primary care setting, together with the separation of dispensing as part of professional medicine management ensuring safety—a role which they are professionally trained to perform—we believe the people can enjoy better health benefits.
MPS, in supporting the above pillar of the healthcare system, would like to request that the current or future government undertake seriously the following in the near future:
1. Recognize pharmacists as the custodians of medicines via the acceptance of separation of dispensing from prescribing in the private primary care sector.
2. Ensure that the quality of pharmacists being produced is at the highest level. To enable effective training of graduate pharmacists, a moratorium of pharmacy courses with a specific term and criteria must be put in place.
3. Make mandatory the issuance of prescriptions by healthcare providers. This is to ensure consumers’ and patients’ protection through access to legal documents such as prescriptions. Furthermore, health data should be the property of the patient, with hospitals and clinics acting only as guardians thereof.
4. To make all medicines non-taxable (zero-rated GST).
5. Involve the citizens and civil society organizations in policy making and legislative drafting processes, as well as increase their capacity in decision-making.
6. Be impartial towards all professional organizations and consider all views in a fair and transparent manner.
7. Review the health system and work collaboratively towards a financially sustainable system that is fair and just to patients, consumers and all health professionals, which is equitable and affordable to all citizens.
The MPS strongly believes that if all the above are met, the Malaysian healthcare system will be considered world class; to be emulated by others.