Five years after CAP reported (on 25.10.2010) the sale of an electrically heated “warmness pillow” to the Electricity Commission (EC), it issued a directive prohibiting the import, manufacture, sale, advertising of the product on 23.10.2015. However, there has been no enforcement of this directive. CAP was able to purchase one of these pillows on 26.4.2016.
The healthcare care industry is supported by an array of disciplines each with its own training curriculum, standards and job descriptions – be it nursing, physiotherapy, dietetics, pharmacy or medicine. Each discipline supports the other and it is the seamless integration of the various disciplines that leads to optimal health care support for consumers and patients.
However the universal norm that doctors diagnose and prescribe while pharmacists audit and dispense is amiss in Malaysia and the notion to accord pharmacists their rightful duty to dispense medicines has always been met by contentious objections from the doctors. But what is most bizarre and beyond comprehension is the Ministry of Health’s stand on the issue in that they would not support dispensing separation. On what basis does the Ministry of Health deny a profession of its fundamental role?
We are slated to be a high income country by 2020 and it appears that all indicators suggest we are close to the finishing line. Incidentally depression is also lurking to be the number one disability worldwide by 2020 – just four years away. According to the 2015 National Health and Mobidity Survey (NHMS), 1 in 3 individuals have mental health problems in Malaysia. The global average according to the World Health Organisation is 1 in 4 persons who are affected by a mental health disorder at some point in their lives.
A survey conducted by Consumers Association of Penang on oral contraceptive pills showed that they were easily and freely available at pharmacies. These drugs are controlled by the Poisons Act 1952, which requires the seller to record their sales in a register called Poisons Book kept by the pharmacy. The easy availability of these drugs over the counter without the registration of the buyer's details makes a mockery of the Poisons Act. The law is openly flouted by pharmacies in Penang and a grocery shop in Kulim, Kedah. An earlier survey also found such pills being sold in the Chow Kit area in KL and in grocery shops in other rural areas.