The Consumers Association of Penang congratulates the Government for issuing a license relating to the “rights of government” to obtain generic versions of the Hepatitis C medicine sofosbuvir, as announced by the Minister of Health, Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam in his press statement on 20 September.
This move has raised hopes of the 500,000 Hepatitis C patients in Malaysia and their families that at long last there can be an effective cure made available at affordable cost.
The Consumers Association of Penang welcomes and applauds the Malaysian government’s decision to issue a government use license that will enable the government to import medicines for Hepatitis C treatment at the lowest possible prices and cure the hundredsof thousands of Malaysians infected with Hepatitis C virus (HCV).
According to various reports and reliable sources, this decision was taken by the Cabinet on 4 August 2017.
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.
The recent case involving the death of the son-in-law of the Deputy Prime Minister who had been given anaesthesia by unqualified personnel in a private dental facility raises a big question with regard auditing of private healthcare facilities. This particular case received nation-wide attention because it involved a family member of a VIP. There could easily be many more such unreported cases among the lay public.
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?