Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Health Ministry planning ‘zoning’ system for pharmacies

The Health Ministry is looking into a “zoning” system to distribute pharmacies over both urban and rural areas to make it easier for the people to get their medicine.

Pharmaceutical services division director Datuk Eisah A Rahman said a Healthcare Providers' Mapping Service was in the works to show the distribution of pharmacies.

“With this service, people will know the location of the pharmacy nearest to the hospital or clinic they have visited.

“More importantly, it can assist health policy makers in implementing the zoning of pharmacies to ensure equitable distribution and access to medicine for the public,” she said.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said there seemed to be an inequitable distribution of pharmacies, as there were more outlets in urban areas than in rural places.

Ministry statistics show that there are 10,006 registered pharmacists and 1,834 pharmacies in the country.

The concentration is in Selangor (where there are 433 pharmacies), Penang (213), Kuala Lumpur (201) and Johor (157).

About 1,000 new pharmacists are registered each year.

“Currently, the ratio of pharmacists to the population in Malaysia is 1:3,181 people.

“This is not far from the optimum ratio of 1:2,000 people set by the World Health Organisation.

“But most of them are situated in urban areas,” said Liow.

He called on the pharmaceutical community to open more outlets in less concentrated areas.

According to the Malaysian Community Pharmacists Association, about 30 rural districts in the country are without a private community pharmacy.

It said 49% of private doctors in the country as well as 54% of private pharmacists and 55% of private hospitals and nursing or maternity homes are based in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Johor.


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