Pharmacy focuses on personalised care and medication packaging for easier consumption

To-date, Alpro has 50 outlets across Malaysia, including its flagship pharmacy in Seremban. — Photos: UU BAN/The Star

ALPRO Pharmacy may seem like your ordinary pharmacy next door, but it goes beyond just dispensing medicine and advice on treatment of minor conditions and healthy living.

It also extends pharmacist professional services and personalised pharmacy care to its customers.

After a brainstorming session three years ago, Alpro came up with Medi series, a four-part service that looked into customers’ medication safety by ensuring they take the right medication at the right time and in the right dosage.

“We asked ourselves what could we do to help customers, besides selling medicine and personal care products.

“We came up with the tagline ‘Medication Safety, Our Priority’, which is now our guiding principle for strategies,” said Alpro marketing director Lee Yin Chen.

The series started off with Medicpak, a patented multi-dose packaging system that makes it easier for customers to take their medication.

Using a 28-individual blister pack, Alpro’s pharmacists pack prescribed medication and supplements using the unit dose method according to specific times, for example, mornings, noons, evenings and bedtime, including the date.

Lee showing how they pack medication and supplements in the 28-individual blister pack called Medicpak.
Lee showing how they pack medication and supplements in the 28-individual blister pack called Medicpak.

The packs can also be formatted to weekly or monthly, for the customers’ convenience.

“This type of service is commonly offered in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Britain. In Malaysia, however, we are the first and only pharmacy to provide this Medicpak service.

“Older customers, especially, may not remember and get confused by the medication they are taking.

“So we help them organise their medication to avoid the hassle and confusion, while reducing the chance of error, overdose or under-dose,” Lee explained.

Medicpak comes with a description of the medication as well as other necessary information that allows a health specialist to understand the medication the customer is taking.

The beauty is that each day’s medication comes in a convenient tear-off strip, so if the customer is travelling, one can easily pack medicine based on the number of days needed. It is also waterproof and airtight.

“Original packaging helps the medicine last longer and once opened, the pills can be damaged if exposed to air and moisture. Medication safety is of utmost importance,” Lee stressed.

The Medi series, a four-part service that consists of (from left) cautionary labels, Medicpak, Medicheck and Medilist (the card).
The Medi series, a four-part service that consists of (from left) cautionary labels, Medicpak, Medicheck and Medilist (the card).

As such, he assured that packing would only be done monthly even if the patient bought six months' worth of medication.

He added that they could also pack medication obtained from other pharmacies, clinics and hospitals, and not only those bought from Alpro as a patient might have prescriptions from a few different places.

The second service is Medicheck, a medication review between the customer and pharmacist.

“Sometimes, some customers don’t really understand what they are taking or the side effects caused by some medication, as some may cause interaction when taken together.

“Medicheck was developed so that customers can discuss their medication with us.

“That way, we can review and reduce the types of medicine taken to avoid redundancy, if need be.

“This happens when customers hop from clinic to clinic, and get different prescriptions from various health specialists who may not be aware of the customer’s consultation with other specialists,” said Lee who is also a pharmacist.

If the customer still has a hard time remembering his medication even with help from Medicpak and Medicheck services, then Medilist will come in handy.

The list comes in the size of a namecard, and can easily be carried everywhere. It contains medication details which can be shown to a pharmacist or doctor.

This way, prescription error is avoided as the doctor would immediately know about the customer’s allergies and what type of medication he is on.

The fourth series is a cautionary label that Alpro has developed, to be added onto the medication package dispensed by the pharmacist to the customer.

These labels provide supplementary information on the use and storage of the medication, as well as safe administration.

“We have identified 12 types of labels which customers need to know. Sometimes, they are not properly informed of the effects of the medicine.

“For example, if a medicine can cause drowsiness or depletion of zinc, then this is indicated in the label.

“We also offer solutions to counter the problem, such as by eating seafood or supplements to replace the loss of zinc.

“Some medication tend to make you feel tired, but you cannot figure out why you feel that way. These labels help by giving customers a better understanding of what’s going on,” Lee pointed out.

By the end of the day, it goes back to medication safety, he emphasised.

Alpro Alliance Sdn Bhd won the Silver Award in the Best Innovation category at the Star Outstanding Business Award (SOBA) 2016.

Alpro Pharmacy was founded in Port Dickson 15 years ago by three pharmacists, and today, the brand has 50 outlets across Malaysia.

Each outlet has a pharmacist, nutrition and dietician to provide customers with holistic healthcare services, explained Lee.

The Medi series services are free for Alpro members. Customers just need to pay RM10 lifetime membership fee to be a member.

“We have also gone a step further to be the first and only pharmacy in Malaysia to insure our medication with product liability insurance.

“When you get medicine from us, rest assured that you’re getting genuine stuff.

“Customers are covered with up to RM1mil insurance per case should anything happen,” he stressed.

“What makes us different is the professional services we offer, and the adherence to the safety of medication,” Lee concluded.

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