PHARMACISTS’ FEES: Ministry will ensure charges won't burden patients
WITH reference to the report "Pharmacists seek RM5 per visit" (NST, July 28), the Health Ministry is cognisant of the role played by pharmacists in the provision of healthcare in this country. Previously, pharmacists were mainly involved in the manufacturing, quality control and supply of medicines.
Today, this has changed, and pharmacists are actively involved in patient-focused services and it is not uncommon for community pharmacists to provide advice on the management of minor ailments, medication counselling, smoking cessation and weight management programmes.
In most countries, pharmacists are paid a professional fee based on the services provided and the types of drugs dispensed.
Currently, there is no standardised fee schedule in Malaysia for pharmacists, unlike for doctors and dentists.
For this to happen, there are several things that need to be put in place, such as a fair drug pricing system, standardisation of service provision and a monitoring system by the government and the professional body itself.
Accreditation of community pharmacies against benchmarking standards has already been initiated via the collaboration between the ministry, the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society and Malaysian Society for Quality in Health to ensure that they consistently deliver a high standard of care.
The ministry is also in the process of developing a medicines pricing system so that there will be uniformity in medicine charges.
The introduction of mandatory, ongoing professional education will also help to ensure that practising pharmacists are equipped with up-to-date knowledge, and that they provide the best standards of care to their clients.
The ministry will ensure that the public is not burdened when they seek professional help at the pharmacy, and any form of remuneration is in line with fair medicines pricing and the provision of quality pharmaceutical services.
Datuk Eisah A. Rahman, senior director of pharmaceutical services, Health Ministry