Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

WHERE IS OUR MEDICAL EDUCATION HEADING?

The last few months has seen a lot of discourse in the media on the plight of young trainee doctors or housemen as they are called.   We saw a lot of shocking headlines – ‘not cut out to be doctors’, ‘grappling with housemen woes’, ‘housemen buckling under pressure’ – just to name a few. The most shocking revelation was that housemen comprised the highest number of civil servants who were sacked.   According to some media reports 1 out of 5 housemen drop out annually with the total dropouts numbering up to 1000 or more annually

The average cost of studying medicine at a foreign university branch campus in Malaysia is around RM500,000 excluding living expenses.  Just taking this as a benchmark you’re looking at a loss of RM500 million.  This is a colossal waste of resources. After spending years in tuition and training only to drop out just at the threshold of their medical career.

Our high medicine prices are killing patients

Control astronomical prices of medicines now

Expenditure on medicines comprise a large share of total health expenditure. The Ministry of Health (MOH) expenditure on medicines has been steadily increasing from RM1.61 billion in 2010; to RM1.76 billion in 2011; RM1.98 billion in 2012 and RM2.2 billion in 2013. This was an increase of 36.5% in the span of 3 years.

Medicines expenditure will only increase in the future with an ageing population, the shift to chronic diseases, new patented medicines at monopoly prices, and the increased demand for health care.

Ensuring universal access to medicines and meeting the health needs of the population will be a major challenge.

SPEED UP THE RECALL OF RIBENA® CORDIAL

The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) is concerned about the recall of several RIBENA® products by the manufacturer recently.

According to the manufacturer, the recall involved the following products and expiry dates:

RIBENA® flavour (all size packs) Expiry Date

RIBENA®Blackcurrant Cordial May to August 2018

RIBENA®Blackcurrant& Glucose May to August 2018

RIBENA®Blackcurrant& Strawberry February to August 2018

RIBENA®Blackcurrant& Blueberry February to August 2018

RIBENA®Blackcurrant& Apple April to May 2018

We want to know if the recall had started because some retailers are giving special discounts on the product during the first week of August.

We urge the authorities to remove all the affected products from the shelves and announce to the public soonest possible.

Consumers who have bought these products to return them and seek refund from the outlets where they have bought them.

On the other hand, we also want to call upon consumers to drink fresh fruit juices that they extract rather than sugar-laden cordials and ‘fruit juices’ that come in boxes or bottles.

PRESS STATEMENT, 14th August 2017

Depression and its many causes

depression-drawing-colourWe all feel “down” or “blue” at times. All of us have days when we feel “depressed”. Usually, these feelings are temporary, and we can have a great day tomorrow. Even when we have a bad day, we can still find enjoyment in things. These occasional bad days are part of life and not depression.

Sometimes though, these feelings may persist for several days or even weeks. This is common following the break-up of a relationship or other unpleasant event.  In many cases, the sadness or depressed mood may accompany problems such as loss of appetite, overeating, sleeplessness, excessive sleeping, lack of energy and drive, loss of interest and joy, etc. This is when depression becomes a medical illness.

Test Loom Bands and Clear Confusion

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As of late there has been a lot of conflicting news in circulation about loom band and phthalates – a harmful chemical commonly found in plastic products. Looms bands have become a nationwide craze; popular among children and adults alike. Therefore it is a concern for us, the Consumer’s Association of Penang, that there are such contradictory reports on whether or not loom bands are safe. We believe it is crucial that all loom bands be tested and the results of said test be released to the public so consumers may know what is safe and what is not.