More than half of the RM2.2 billion worth of medicines prescribed by government doctors and pharmacists gets thrown away every year. This shocking revelation was made today by International Islamic University (IIU) deputy rector (academic and research) Professor Datuk Dr Mohd Tahir Azhar.
Saying there was too much wastage of medicines by patients, he added: “Many patients do not follow the prescriptions or throw away the medicines when they assume that they have totally recuperated."
He said this money could be saved if there was a better pharmaceutical care service.
He was speaking at a one-day Pharmaceutical Care Workshop organised by the university at its branch campus here. It was opened by Health Ministry Pharmaceutical Services deputy director Zawiyah Mat Johor.
Dr Tahir said the role of community pharmacists was important as they could educate patients on the importance of the medicines prescribed to them.
"With better community pharmaceutical care, the pharmacists could do follow-up and advise patients on the medicines prescribed to them.”
Dr Tahir said IIU was cooperating with the Health Ministry to find the best system of community phamarceutical care.
"We are looking at the systems being practised in developed countries, particularly in Australia," he said.
Professor Patrick Ball of Charles Stuart University, Australia, said many patients did not take their medicines once they were free of the active symptoms.
He said some people, for example diabetes patients, needed to continue with their medication even if they did not show any symptoms.
He urged health professionals, particularly doctors and pharmacists, to work together.
IIU school of pharmacy dean Professor Datuk Dr Tariq Abdul Razak said that the university's pharmacy students were being groomed to have the skills to deal with the public.
"This is part of our preparation for the community pharmaceutical services as the students have to serve the government for a few years after they have graduated," he said.