REFERRING to the report “Dr Dzul: Thorough discussion, studies needed to separate prescribing and dispensing medicine” (TheStarOnline at bit.ly/3051MnG, May 7), we in the Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia (MPCAM) would like to inform the Health Minister that a stakeholders meeting to discuss the Pharmacy Bill, which includes the hot topic of dispensing separation, was held for one week at Port Dickson on December 2015. It was organised by Pemandu and sponsored by the Health Ministry.
This followed the news that the Pharmacy Bill was being bulldozed through Parliament by the previous government, bypassing doctors who are also stakeholders in this issue.
More than a hundred stakeholders comprising doctors, pharmacists, dispensers and representatives from consumer associations and the pharmaceutical industry were invited to attend and engage with government officials to give feedback on the related issues.
We heard many presentations and debates, all of which were conducted by the neutral body Pemandu, and pros and cons for dispensing separation were presented to the Health Ministry.
On May 9, 2016, all stakeholders were called to the ministry’s office in Putrajaya and informed of the outcome of the “thorough “discussion. Though the majority of us accepted the result, pharmacy groups continued to highlight the issue, probably not understanding why the decisions were made.
Not much could have changed in three years for the need to have another “thorough” discussion on the issue, hence the minister should just study the outcome of the 2015 Port Dickson meet.
DR RAJ KUMAR MAHARAJAH
Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia