Less patients for GPs: Community pharmacists deserve better

on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Less patients for GPs: Community pharmacists deserve better.

WE could relate a lot with what Dr David Quek, president of the Malaysian Medical Association, mentioned in the article "Some are making only RM10,000 a month", that appeared on Dec 5.

We agree that work in the private sector is becoming more and more challenging as take-home earnings appear to be dwindling.

What is disturbing, however, is the claim that community pharmacies pose a competition with general medical practice by being "unscrupulous" because they "dish out" medication without prescription. Perhaps, it may serve as a reminder to state that community pharmacists are allowed by law to sell certain medications classified as "Group C" and "over the counter" without prescriptions.

They cannot, for one moment, be considered "unscrupulous". After all, they are trained to manage medication. Without the legal separation between the prescribing functions of doctors and dispensing functions of pharmacists, it can be understood that doctors' prescriptions given to community pharmacists are few and far in between. Hence, we cannot fault community pharmacists for doing what they are legally allowed to do, -- dispensing medication in the correct classifications without prescriptions. After all, they have a right to earn a decent living, just like doctors, after the hardwork during the demanding years in pharmacy school and considering the high cost of education.

Furthermore, it cannot be fathomed what exactly is meant by "simplistic point of care" offered. Community pharmacists are expected to provide pharmaceutical care through drug and lifestyle counselling. Their roles have been expanded by the need to promote a healthy lifestyle.

This is deemed to be the expanded role of all healthcare providers whether they be doctors, dental surgeons, nurses or paramedics. In fact, many community pharmacies have been certified smoking cessation service providers through a training programme conducted jointly by the Health Ministry and Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society.

This new role for all healthcare providers demands continuing professional development and certainly leaves no room for simpletons.

While taking cognizance of the fact that general practitioners need to work increasingly harder to cover the rising cost of living, it must be acknowledged that community pharmacists do not have it easy either.

Malaysia is recognised as a country with a successful primary healthcare programme and due credit must be given to GP clinics and community pharmacies as well as other institutions for contributing to that success.

Dr Quek is right in voicing his concern over the push to train more doctors to ensure a better doctor:patient ratio but this effort may create an imbalance between demand and supply. Competition increases with more graduates and, at the same time, eats into the shrinking cake. The scenario for pharmacists is similar and the two professions share a similar predicament.

In order to remain competitive, community pharmacies need to open longer hours. This may result in the need to employ extra pharmacists for shift duties. Presently, employment in the public sector is attractive because of the hours of work and higher salary. Hence, employers in the private sector need to keep pace and offer higher pay to employ pharmacists. Again, this eats into the bottom line.

Moreover, community pharmacists must maintain best practices as custodians of drugs by upholding the laws and regulations .

The rising cost of medication, together with more players, coupled with group pharmacies and private GP group practices enjoying advantages by buying in bulk have all threatened the livelihood of community pharmacies.

But it is laudable that community pharmacists manage to maintain their enthusiasm to serve. The main driving force must surely be their love to serve society and provide quality care.

What remains to be done is for healthcare providers to better understand each other's predicament and support each others' roles in the face of numerous challenges.

After all, we may be poorer in our pockets but richer in the reward of working together to promote health.

President, Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society


on Monday, November 29, 2010

This World AIDS Day - 1 Dec

Take action to tackle HIV prejudice and to protect yourself and others from HIV transmission.

Over 90,000 people are living with HIV in the UK and new infections continue every year. Explore this site to ensure you understand the facts about HIV and find out what you can do to ACT AWARE.


Why do I need to ACT AWARE?

Being aware of the facts about HIV and acting on that knowledge to inform your behaviour are vital steps in taking care of your own health and wellbeing, the health and wellbeing of others, and ensuring you treat everyone living with HIV fairly and with understanding.

Many people do not understand all the ways HIV is transmitted, how it can be prevented, the reality of living with HIV today, or the fact that the number of people diagnosed with HIV has been increasing in the UK.

HIV prejudice is still an issue in the UK

There is still a great deal of stigma about HIV, often as a result of ignorance about how HIV is transmitted, judgements being made about people living with HIV, a lack of understanding of what it’s like to live with HIV, or an unfounded fear of becoming infected.

Stigma or prejudice about HIV in society means that people with HIV can find it difficult to tell others about it. Some have to deal with rejection from friends, family or colleagues, or even experience verbal and physical abuse. Even the fear of stigma can stop some people with HIV from telling others, getting a new job, or even dating.

Protect yourself and others from HIV infection

Approximately 90,000 people are living with HIV in the UK, and over a quarter of those people don’t know they have the virus. Despite more people than ever before living with HIV in the UK, knowledge about HIV among the general public is low.

Understanding how HIV is transmitted and knowing your HIV status is very important for protecting yourself and your partner. Make sure you know the HIV facts from the myths or take our HIV quiz to find out if you have put yourself at risk of HIV.

IPSF - WHO Winter 2010-11 internship places

on Monday, September 27, 2010

Did you apply for the IPSF-WHO internship in July, but did not make it to the shortlist? Don't worry!
WHO is currently accepting applications for the Winter 2010-11 internship places in Geneva, Switzerland and Copenhagen, Denmark. You may apply for any of the ten available placements, each in a different field of work. Visit http://www.who.int/employment/vacancies/en/ for details!

Deadline of applications: 30 September

Please note that this is a public call, competition is expected to be very high! IPSF members may receive support letters upon request after providing proof of previous activity in the Federation's public health portfolio.

IPSF - EU 'HELP' Student Network Meeting

Are you an EU citizen, 18-30 years of age with a special interest and experience in tobacco control? Here is your opportunity to represent the Federation in the second EU 'HELP' Student Network Meeting (http://www.help-eu.com/) in Brussels, Belgium during 15-16 October!

And the best part? All travel and accommodation ex...penses will be reimbursed by the European Commission for the participants.

Please find the application form at http://scr.bi/cqGuhT or request the file and further information from Ms. Sharon Leung, Chairperson of Public Health 2010-11 at publichealth@ipsf.org. Please notify Ms. Leung about your intent of application, along with a short description of former involvement in tobacco-related public health activities within your national organization or IPSF.

Selection of participants will be done by the EU 'HELP' Student Network Secretariat, successful applicants will be notified after the deadline.

Application deadline: 24 September, 12.00pm CET

It's good to think - but not too much, scientists say

on Sunday, September 19, 2010

People who think more about whether they are right have more cells in an area of the brain known as the frontal lobes.

UK scientists, writing in Science, looked at how brain size varied depending on how much people thought about decisions.

But a nationwide survey recently found that some people think too much about life.

These people have poorer memories, and they may also be depressed.

Stephen Fleming, a member of the University College London (UCL) team that carried out the research, said: "Imagine you're on a game show such as 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' and you're uncertain of your answer. You can use that knowledge to ask the audience, ask for help."

The London group asked 32 volunteers to make difficult decisions. They had to look at two very similar black and grey pictures and say which one had a lighter spot.

They then had to say just how sure they were of their answer, on a scale of one to six. Although it was hard to tell the difference, the pictures were adjusted to make sure that no-one found the task harder than anyone else.

People who were more sure of their answer had more brain cells in the front-most part of the brain - known as the anterior prefrontal cortex.

This part of the brain has been linked to many brain and mental disorders, including autism. Previous studies have looked at how this area functions while people make real time decisions, but not at differences between individuals.

Illness link

The study is the first to show that there are physical differences between people with regards to how big this area is. These size differences relate to how much they think about their own decisions.

The researchers hope that learning more about these types of differences between people may help those with mental illness.

Co-author Dr Rimona Weil, from UCL's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, said: "I think it has very important implications for patients with mental ill health who perhaps don't have as much insight into their own disease."

She added that they hope they may be able to improve patients' ability to recognise that they have an illness and to remember to take their medication.

However, thinking a lot about your own thoughts may not be all good.

Cognitive psychologist Dr Tracy Alloway from the University of Stirling, who was not involved in the latest study, said that some people have a tendency to brood too much and this leads to a risk of depression.

More than 1,000 people took part in a nationwide study linking one type of memory - called "working memory" - to mental health.

Working memory involves the ability to remember pieces of information for a short time, but also while you are remembering them, to do something with them.

For example, you might have to keep hold of information about where you saw shapes and colours - and also answer questions on what they looked like. Dr Alloway commented: "I like to describe it as your brain's Post-It note."

Those with poorer working memory, the 10-15% of people who could only remember about two things, were more likely to mull over things and brood too much.

Both groups presented their findings at the British Science Festival, held this year at the University of Aston in Birmingham.

Welcome to contribute

on Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Anyone welcomed to contribute any article, news, information and etc related to pharmaceutical field, students and professional activities and etc to this blog. We also welcome your ideas and opinion on any related issue.

We hope everyone can benefit from information made available on this site.

For note, all information that was sent to us to be posted will be filtered first before being published. This doesn't apply for comments, unless considered 'poor in quality'.

For any information or contribution of information, please email at rulord20@hotmail.com.

Thank you.

Closure of Department of Pharmacy of Island College of Technology

June 2010 - Pharmacy Board of Malaysia has decided to stop Island College of Technology(ICT), Penang from registering new students for 2010/2011 intake for Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons.) USM program.

Although the real reason is not known publicly, the reason is said to be due to the college administration's lack of commitment in running the program.

With the 1st batch of the students have graduated, the 2nd , 3rd and 4th(final) batch of students have been absorbed into University of Science Malaysia, since the degree is a franchise degree.
The students transfered officially into USM on 12th August 2010.