Friday, March 06, 2015
Does Puteri UMNO realised they can lose pharmacist votes?
Just got out of hospital.
Do not know what is actually happening the past few days except our uric acid reading got up to as high as 680. That is a dangerous level as any higher it could advance to kidney problem and need for dialysis.
This event ad came in our Whats App groups. It strike upon us as to the inconsistency between the question the event seek to answer and the collaborator of the event.
The pharmacists would think that Puteri UMNO is bias and got bought by doctors. That is no way to go for a political party, more so the ruling party.
Have they heard the pharmacist side of the story?
Mainstream media seemed bias to promote the doctors's interest using concern for rising healthcare cost as excuse. That is far from the truth.
Some of the Malay social media are using the chinese bogey by claiming chinese monopolised the pharmaceutical industry. Hmmm ... isn't it foreign pharmaceutical companies?
With the doctors are campaigning hard and the Malaysian Medical Association (or MMA) being a powerful and influential group that could dictate public health policies, the pharmacist are a seriously disadvantaged lot.
The plight of pharmacist as professional in the medical field seemed not given the space to speak thus we emphatise with them. They are professionals and should not be reduced to cashiers at pharmacies.
For someone on regular medication and regularly hospitalised, we can relate to the pharmacist side of the story.
Our experience made us believe that doctors should not takeover the role of pharmacists.
Our respirologist prescribed for our COPD problem with something like 8 or 9 types of medicines and inhalers at one time. A friend realised this and told us that it is strange. We will end up immuned to medicine that there will be no medicine when our condition escalate.
For his much worse asthma condition, he was limited to few medications.
During Haj, a pharmacist at the Tabung Haji makeshift hospital alerted us that most of the medicine prescribed were duplication. Without saying it, she inferred that we were overdosed and prescribed unnecessary steroids yet the cough never subsided.
It was in one occasion of an asthma attack over Hari Raya that we switched specialist at another hospital. Finally, he was able to address the incessant cough of many years. All that was needed was one regular Symbicort inhaler and in the event of attack, only a Ventolin inhaler and a type of pill.
We realised that not only we were overdosed, we were wrongly prescribed over the past few years.
So doctors should not be dispensing medicine because the pharmacist is more qualified for this role. And, Doctors have limited knowledge on drugs, chemical content of medicine, side effects, and issue of safety.
Pharmacist must be involved in curing patience. As per our experience, they could reduce mistakes and side effects of wrong prescription of medicine.
The reason private clinic doctors were allowed to dispense medicine and encroach into the area of pharmacist must be the situation of insufficient number of pharmacists of the time.
That ratio is now down to 1:2,400. WHO requirement is 1:2,000. By 2020, it will be 1:1,600 so it is high time.
As we believe, there is also the consideration to keep cost of private sector health cost low by doctor's consultancy in private clinic being partly subsidised by medicine sale.
It is no more the case today as doctors are not not only taking percentage profit on top of the supplier's cost but selling it at few multiples of the supplier's cost.
It reminded me of late father's ulcer medicine. The doctor had accidently left the original package with the brand name of the medicine. Father made the effort to compare prices and he found out that the doctor had charged three times the pharmacy price.
There was an incident that we got a clinic to issue a note to get a particular medicine from the next door pharmacy. For only RM8 for the doctor's note, we were able to reuse the note and buy medicine at the pharmacy for 30 to 40% lower than that charged at doctor's clinic.
This procedure was a way for doctor's to take a ride on the lower medicine cost at pharmacy. By right, it should be left to the pharmacy to do so.
Demarking the line between medical consultancy and dispensing medicine should bring about lower cost for medication, and more advantageous to patients and consumers.
Doctor role would be to diagnose and recommend the medicine but it is the pharmacy that authorise the dispensing medicine to ensure safety. This way there is counter checking of a professional by other qualified professional.
By separating dispensing role from doctors, the pharmacist profession can flourish and grow like mushroom throughout the country. It is time that we have a more professional and dynamic public healthcare system like in other developed country.
For too long, pharmacist have been reduced to sales person at pharmacy.
In government hospitals, one will notice pharmacist playing their role and explaining the medicine prescribed to patients. Doctors will follow the medicine prescribed by pharmacist.
Malaysia has been recognised by world health organisation as having one of the best health system because of the government facilities. It is well planned as it covers for rural and urban population.
The government hospital have been practising the separation between diagnosing by doctors and dispensing of medicine. Why can't that model be applied to private clinics?
It is the private clinics that is resisting the separation of diagnosis and resisting the change because private health practise have turned these healthcare professional tending to the sick into heartless businessmen.
These clinics have been shortchanging consumers and put patients in danger by hiring unqualified assistants to handle medicine.
It is also time that healthcare consumers at private healthcare institution be given itemised bill. They should know the cost of their medicine and able to compare prices. There should not be any more hiding of brand and package from patients as happened to late father.
Maybe it is time to do away with these small neighbourhood clinics with limited role which only contribute to rising healthcare cost.
Is Puteri UMNO listening and able to comprehend?
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