Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Move to increase pharmacies in rural areas

The Health Ministry is considering a move to offer incentives as a way of increasing the number of community pharmacies in rural areas.

Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said this would encourage the private sector to open more community pharmacies in these areas.

“This is to combat the problem of insufficient number of community pharmacies, especially in rural areas,” said Liow in his speech during the launch of the 100th Cosway pharmacy store at Bandar Sri Daman-sara yesterday.

His speech was read out by the ministry's Pharmaceutical Services Division senior director Datuk Eisah A. Rahman.

Liow said statistics showed that there were only 1,834 community pharmacies in the country.

“The ministry views seriously the uneven distribution of community pharmacies, most of which are mushrooming in city areas,” he said.

He added that it had worked together with the Malaysian Phar-maceutical Society to develop the Malaysian Healthcare Providers Mapping Service.

The service, which displayed 10 types of healthcare service providers, would allow patients to find out the location of the nearest pharmacies as well as hospitals and clinics, he said.

The service, he added, was also used by the ministry to implement “zoning” as a way of improving the distribution of pharmacies in both urban and rural areas to make it easier for people to access medicine.

Later, Eisah told reporters that a community pharmacy was a retail pharmacy which also provided services such as a pharmacist offering consumer advice on proper medication, dosage and precautions.

“It could be owned by individuals or a group of companies,” she said, adding that through “zoning”, the ministry could better control the distribution of pharmacies by referring to the mapping service.

“Before anyone wants to open a pharmacy, he or she will need to get the division's approval. So, if the particular location requested for has other pharmacies, we will advise them to consider different places,” she said, adding that there would also be less competition.
Source : CLICK


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