KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced that 278 general hospitals and public health clinics offer patients medicine delivery through post.
The Prescribed Medication Courier Service (UMP), an initiative under the Pharmaceutical Services Programme in MOH, is a follow-up service that delivers a patient’s monthly drug supply directly to the location of their choice, with the delivery charge borne by the patient.
With this, patients do not need to come to the MOH pharmacy counter to get the next follow-up medicine supply.
“The ministry, as the medium responsible for managing the supply of medicines to patients in MOH health facilities, always improves the services provided to patients,” said Health Minister Dr Adham Baba in a written Parliament answer dated July 16.
Dr Adham answered Sarikei MP Wong Ling Biu (DAP), who had asked the ministry to state the policy of the MOH for the distribution of medicines at the pharmacies in public hospitals to patients.
Wong also asked MOH about the time period for drug distribution and the eligibility status of entitled patients for postal delivery service.
“For the preparation of medicines for delivery through UMP, it will be implemented 10 days before the date of follow-up supply of patients. This is to ensure that the patient receives the medication on the due date so that the patient’s medication supply is not interrupted,” Dr Adham said.
Only patients who are stable, compliant, and understand medical therapy and how to use and take medication, will be offered this service, as stated in the guidelines of the Medical Services by Post published in 2010 by the MOH Pharmaceutical Services Programme.
According to the health minister, the supply of medicine at the MOH pharmacy facility depends on the prescription issued by the medical officer at the facility.
He stated that patients with chronic illness will be supplied with medicine for a period of one month or two months only to ensure the quality of medicines stored at home, facilitate the monitoring of the occurrence of unwanted side effects, ensure patient’s compliance with medication intake, avoid wastage, and reduce the risk of medical errors due to excessive stock of drugs that can be misused by others.
However, the practice of follow-up for medicine supply has caused some difficulties when patients are required to attend the pharmacy several times to obtain medicines, Dr Adham said.
The health minister also listed the challenges faced by patients in obtaining medicines, such as congestion and long waiting times at the pharmacy, burden of transportation costs, and time constraints for patients involved.
So, the MOH has diversified the means of dispensing the supply of follow-up medicines to the patients involved.
The Pharmacy Value Added Services initiative that was introduced specifically for patients with long-term prescriptions of more than a month offers services such as:
- Integrated Drug Dispensing System (SPUB)
- Appointment System
- Road Traffic Pharmacy
- Postal Medical Services (UMP)
“This service is offered to patients who are stable, understand and adhere to the correct medication,” the health minister mentioned.