Empowering Pharmacists To Better Serve The Nation — Lim En-Ni

The government should empower community pharmacists in the provision of primary health care in the country. 

In conjunction with this year’s World Pharmacists Day on September 25, I would like to implore for government recognition and support to empower community pharmacists in the provision of primary health care in the country. 

For the longest time, the role of a pharmacist has been seen by many, even among those in the profession, as retailer of supplements and other health care products. However, thanks, and no thanks, to the Covid-19 pandemic, the general public have come to recognise the values community pharmacists bring: 

  • Medication Safety: Very often, patients with multiple non-communicable diseases (NCDs) were prescribed with medications by different doctors, they might not be aware of possible medical contradictions. They will bring these medications to community pharmacists like me, and we will help them review and explain the dosage and possible side effects of each medicine. Most importantly, pharmacists ensure the safety of patients from medication errors.
  • Accessibility: Pharmacies are usually open for long hours, and pharmacists offer informal, appointment-free consultation. At the height of the pandemic when clinics and hospitals required Covid-19 screening prior to consultation with doctors, and patients avoided going to high-risk places as such, community pharmacists filled the gap by offering advice on Covid-19 and other health related matters including basic health screening and re-filling much needed chronic prescriptions through collaboration with telemedicine providers. 
  • Solution-Based Services: In recent years, many product-based retail pharmacists have transited to community pharmacists with solution-based services, such as wound-care, smoking cessation service, as well as diabetic-care. 

Community pharmacists have and will influence national health care progression in many positive ways. It is high time for the government to endorse community pharmacists as an integral part of community health and wellness, by allocating funding for programmes in support of the government’s efforts in creating a smoke-free generation, battling NCDs, and providing preventive care for the ageing population. 

The inclusion of community pharmacists in the government’s outreach plan will benefit the country as a whole, as it will ultimately reduce medical costs, improve population health, increase the quality of health care in Malaysia, and contribute to the country’s GDP. 

This year, the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) has announced the theme of World Pharmacists Day 2022 as “Pharmacy United In Action For A Healthier World”.

This theme invites comrades from all sectors of the pharmacy profession to take part in the campaign. Regardless of culture or point of view, the core duty of every pharmacist remains — to safeguard medication safety for everyone.  

I would like to end this with words of encouragement and motivation to fellow community pharmacists in Malaysia, who serve patients and communities with genuine passion and perseverance.

Together, we will strive with an open mindset for ideas and practices that will help making Malaysia a healthier and more vibrant nation. 

Lim En-Ni is chief pharmacist and director of engagement at Alpro Pharmacy.

  • This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.

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