KUALA LUMPUR, March 11, 2015:

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad feels that the separation of clinic and pharmacy functions will only burden the patients.

He said many clinic are operating 24 hours while pharmacies are only open for certain hours and the number of pharmacists in the country is still insufficient. “Many pharmacies are located in urban areas and this could burden rural folks in getting medication. “Very often, pharmacists have already gone back even though pharmacies are open until 10pm,” he said at a press conference after signing a collaboration agreement between Perdana University and the University of California, San Diego. He added that the people are still not ready to face such situation whereby they would face higher medication costs. “The present system need to be maintained, whereby clinics remain open after midnight and are able to help patients in need of medication. “If the separation of clinic and pharmacy functions is implemented, this will inconvenience patients as illness can happen any time,” he said. He did not reject the notion that the separation of clinic and pharmacy functions should be done to avoid wrong prescription of medication. “I do not reject the reason, but the the cons outweigh the pros,” he said. The government has 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, The issue came to light when the Malaysian Community Pharmacy Guild (MCPG) made the proposal to the Health Ministry in a series of discussions from 2008. Pharmaceutical Association of Malaysia (PHAMA) deputy president Amrahi Buang previously said that the dispensing of medication by pharmacists will ensure the patients’ safety. Nevertheless, he conceded that the country’s healthcare system is not yet ready for a separation in dispensing of medicines. He had said that an overhaul of the healthcare system was necessary before the proposal could be implemented.

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