Health Ministry to amend Poisons Act to grant patients options in buying meds

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said it would not restrict registered medical practitioners from providing medicines to their patients if the patients choose to get their prescription at their medical facility as being practised now. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said it would not restrict registered medical practitioners from providing medicines to their patients if the patients choose to get their prescription at their medical facility as being practised now. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 — The proposed new provision in the Poison (Amendment) Bill 2019 aims to protect patients’ rights by giving them the option to decide where to fill their prescription.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said it would not restrict registered medical practitioners from providing medicines to their patients if the patients choose to get their prescription at their medical facility as being practised now.

“The ministry is also aware of some of the objections to the types of penalties imposed if this provision is not complied with.

“After the matter was discussed with the ministry’s top management, the Health Advisory Council (HAC) and the Attorney General’s Chambers, the ministry agreed to review the matter and will present suggestions for improvement in the near future,” he said in a statement today.

The Poison (Amendment) Bill 2019, which was tabled for the first time at the Dewan Rakyat meeting on November 25, among others introduced new provisions that would require registered medical practitioners to issue prescriptions at the request of their patients.

The statement was issued following an article published on November 29, titled ‘MMA slams proposed fine, jail for doctors refusing to give prescription slips’ on the website of a news portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT) and several other reports on the same issue.

In the article, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) described a bill that allowed doctors to be fined and jailed for refusing to give a prescription at a patient’s request as “improper”.

Dzulkefly also denied claims that medical practitioners would immediately be sentenced to imprisonment if they refused to produce prescriptions at the patient’s request.

He explained that before a prescription can be issued, patients must first have a consultation with a registered medical practitioner, as this is the basis for the prescription to be issued to the patient.

“This means that patients cannot simply see a registered medical practitioner and demand that a prescription be issued,” he said. — Bernama

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