PETALING JAYA: Easily available antibiotics without prescription at some pharmacies have been identified as another cause for increasing bacterial resistance to drugs.
Fomca vice-president Muhammad Sha’ani Abdullah said while there was a need for greater awareness of antibiotics use, enforcement also needed to be tightened.
“There must be an online register to monitor who has been dispensing antibiotics,” he said.
A 51-year-old businessman, who wanted to be known only as Chin, said he would get antibiotics from pharmacies when he failed to recover from a sore throat.
“I normally take strong lozenges and if that doesn’t help, I will go to a pharmacy and ask for antibiotics,” he said.
The Star highlighted yesterday that there was a need for doctors to limit the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics to only certain bacterial infections and that one’s misuse or overuse of antibiotics could lead to others’ deaths.
Chin said he could obtain antibiotics dispensed by pharmacists at smaller outlets in Kuala Lumpur.
He claimed to have also bought antibiotics for his son to treat his acne problem. Asked why he did not get a doctor’s prescription, he said it would cost more to do so.
Chin said he could get antibiotics for less than RM20, while going to a doctor would set him back more than RM50.
Malaysian Medical Association president Datuk Dr N.K.S. Tharmaseelan said unregulated and over-the-counter sale of antibiotics was another major cause of antibiotic resistance, adding that the Health Ministry’s enforcement division needed to be vigilant and regularly monitor all pharmacies just as they did doctors.
He said some pharmacies dished out antibiotics for common coughs, cold and fever without any prescription or medical examination.
Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society president Datuk Nancy Ho noted that licensed pharmacists were not allowed to dispense antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription as it was against the Poisons Ordinance 1952.
“Patients should not opt for shortcuts as they may not get the right dose without a proper examination by doctors,” she said.