KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 – The selling of Group B Poisons without a doctor’s prescription is illegal and in violation of Poisons Act 1952, president of Malaysian Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia (MPCAM) Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah said today.
His comments were in response to The Star’s story today, on companies opting to deal directly with pharmacies to procure medicines, as private clinics and hospitals charge exorbitant prices for the drugs.
“The public might be ignorant of such a law, but there is no reason for pharmacists to be ignorant of this law, since they claim to be highly knowledgeable about drugs which they dispense,” he told CodeBlue.
Dr Raj lamented that the enforcement activities on prescription drugs for long term medications is also not effective from the Ministry of Health (MOH).
“Patients buy medications from pharmacies without seeing a doctor and only come to the hospital once complications set it.”
“Patients must know their rights and pharmacists who dish out long term medications which require prescriptions can be sued by patients,” he stated, further adding that the patients must realise that though things will be cheaper if they play doctor, it ultimately them costs more with regards to their own health, in the long run.
The Star quoted a source from the pharmaceutical industry as saying that drugs obtained from pharmacies cost the employers between 20 per cent and 150 per cent less than the prices charged by the private clinics and private hospitals.
The report said that companies whose employees are on long-term medications, realised that they saved as much as 40 per cent if they buy the drugs directly from independent pharmacies, and that the direct purchase also allowed the companies save millions of ringgits yearly in staff medical benefits.
However, it is unclear whether these said “companies” are firms that provide healthcare benefits for their employees, or whether they are actually managed care organisations (MCOs).
MCOs offer managed health care plans by contracting with insurers or employers.