Saturday, March 26, 2011

Paid for consultation!

KUALA LUMPUR: Local retail pharmacists want to be paid a fee when they are approached for consultation.

This sum, termed as professional fee, will, however, be nominal or not more than RM5 per visit.

Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) president Datuk Nancy Ho said pharmacists were professionals just like doctors and lawyers.

Accordingly, MPS had recommended to the government that it wanted to have a professional fee attached to the provision of pharmaceutical care by pharmacists.

"Pharmacists should be well compensated as they work hard to earn a decent living," Ho said, adding that pharmacists in the retail line tend to have long working hours too.

"The fee is also in line with Malaysia's aim of achieving a high-income society," said Ho, who is also a member of the Malaysian Pharmacy Board.

"Every time we communicate with a patient, we try to ensure he will feel comfortable with the payment amount. So, the fee will be a nominal sum... maybe around RM5."

The fee would be for the pharmacist's time and knowledge, she added.

Apart from providing advice on the medication that they dispense, pharmacists also provide diet and lifestyle advice.

In a recent interview, Ho said such a move would also curb "abuse" by some patients who seeked a pharmacist's advice in one location, but purchase the medication elsewhere.

She said it would help steer away the notion that retail pharmacists were merely storekeepers and not professionals.

Asked if there were other countries imposing such a fee, she said in most countries, there was a separation for dispensing and the fee was usually included in this.

MPS represents about 2,000 pharmacists in Malaysia.

Read more: Pharmacists want to be paid for consultation

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