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National Pharmacy News

Title: In the dark about medicines
Date: 23-Jan-2018
Category: the star online

ANYONE who has ever been to a private skin clinic for treatment of their skin problems must have noticed a glaring difference in the way the clinic dispenses its medicine.

Unlike public or private hospitals, here you wouldn’t know the name of the medicine the doctor has prescribed for you.

Other than the information on dosage and frequency or where the ointment or cream should be applied, there is no mention at all of the name of the drug or medicine on the label.

Common tablets like Paracetamol or Panadol are generally termed as “painkiller” and the cream or ointment when given to you has already been transferred and packed into a small plastic container marked with a code number. When you want to buy the same cream or ointment again, you only need to tell the clinic assistant the code number. In cases where no code number is given, the clinic assistant will refer to your file.

In view of the fact that some skin diseases can be stubborn and tend to recur, patients may need to go back often to the same clinic to buy the same medicine. Mind you, they have to pay excessively for just a small plastic container of the ointment or cream.

Times are hard and everyone is struggling with the rising cost of living, including healthcare. As a way to save money, surely every patient would wish that they could buy medicine over the counter or straight from their favourite pharmacies. That is why even some doctors in private hospitals are kind enough to advise their patients to get the medicine from outside whenever possible.

But with the present system practised by these private clinics, there is no way their patients could do that.

Admittedly, doctors are well respected members of society. They treat and cure the sick, thus saving lives. As such, doctors are seen as people with all the good qualities like compassion, empathy and honesty and the ones who will always act in the best interests of their patients.

The irresponsible act of some private clinics in denying their patients the right to know the name of the medicine is really disheartening and demoralising. This flagrant abuse is not only against the principles of good medical practice, it also tarnishes the good name of the noble medical profession.

Hopefully, there will be a law in place to ensure they adhere to ethical practices as done by all the hospitals.

I think the following quote is an apt description of a good doctor, “Good doctors understand responsibility better than privilege and practise accountability better than business.”

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