Dzulkefly: Dispensing Separation May Inconvenience Patients

The health minister says patients may find it difficult to locate a pharmacy.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 — Separating the prescribing and dispensing of medicines could cause problems for patients if the mechanism is not implemented carefully, Dzulkefly Ahmad said.

Bernama reported that the health minister pointed out that patients could find it difficult to locate a pharmacy after getting a prescription.

“So, in the end, I see as important the welfare and convenience that you must serve. Nevertheless, I feel there is still room for discussion,” Dzulkefly was quoted saying after launching the 1st World Congress on Falls and Postural Stability 2019 here yesterday.

The Amanah lawmaker reportedly said dispensing separation must take into account patient suitability, interest, and need, as he called for thorough discussions and studies on the proposal.

“On the separation of the functions of the clinic and pharmacy, we are now talking to the two sides. I have emphasised the importance of patient-centric care or patient-centered methodology, and it must be patient-based.

“To get there, we have to understand and take several parameter calculations if we want to implement the practice which is in place in other countries,” Dzulkefly was quoted saying.

Pharmacists have long called for dispensing separation, but doctors are against it pending a raise in general practitioners’ (GP) consultation fees that have remained stagnant for 27 years since 1992.

The Pakatan Harapan government, however, decided last month not to harmonise the consultation fees of GPs operating shoplot practices with their hospital-based counterparts. The former’s rates are RM10 to RM35, compared to the latter’s RM35 to RM125.

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