Attention Community Pharmacists

Attention Community Pharmacists. Label Your Medicines

Since 2003 the Poisons Regulations were amended whereby doctors and pharmacies supplying scheduled items would need to label it with the wording “Ubat Terkawal” or “Controlled Medicine”, together with the name of medicine, name and address of supplier, patient’s name, date of supply, a reference to the Prescription Book, and directions of usage .

A registered mail circular from the Pharmaceutical Services Division has been received by the MPS informing that this regulation is still not being followed by many doctors and pharmacists. Many other NGO’s had raised this issue even up to Parliament level. Various press releases had been issued relating to the labeling also.

Before the amendment to the Regulations, the labels “Poisons” in 4 languages have to be use and this lead to patients complaining that pharmacists are giving patients to take poisons. Hence the “Controlled Medicine” is more appropriate. This can be talking point to explain to the patient what is a controlled medicine which can be obtained only from a pharmacy.

Thus license holders are advised to comply with this requirement to avoid unnecessary enforcement action. It has been an aged old complaint by pharmacists that the doctors are not labeling the medicines. Thus pharmacists themselves must not behave like the doctors but instead have a higher standard of labeling. When appropriate precautionary labels should also be included (May cause drowsiness. Do not drive etc……).

Comment: For doctors not complying is inexcusable but for pharmacists not doing so – how do we describe our inaction? Pharmacists being the expert and custodian of medications must show good example and lead the change. By not complying or slow to do so will undermine our leadership role, and subject the profession to criticism questioning our responsibility and accountability to patient safety ,quality care and commitment to professional practice.. The irony is, it was MPS which brought up the need to change in response to patients questioning why are they given “Poison” as medication (not patient friendly) and also the switch in other countries to “control medicine” that the labellong law was amended. It’s time we raise the bar of professionalism in our practice, and to meet the rising patient expectation from the profession.

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