STACH Awards


MPS-GSK Pharmacist of the Year Award
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MPS Outstanding Pharmacist of the Year Award 2013
MPS OUTSTANDING PHARMACIST OF THE YEAR AWARD 2013 Application is now open for members to be nominated as the MPS Outstanding Pharmacist ...
MPS Innovative Pharmacist of the Year Award 2010 : Call for nominations
MPS Award for Pharmacist 2009-Nominations Closed
MPS-GSK Pharmacist of the Year 2007 (Ms Usha Rajasingam)
MPS-GlaxoSmithKline Pharmacist of the Year 2007 Award Nomination
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MPS Award in conjunction with No Tobacco Day
MPS-UPHA Gold Medal
MPS Awards 2001
MPS Awards for the year 2001: MPS-UPHA Gold Medal Award 2001The recipients of the awards are:
MPS-GSK Award closing date extended to 31st Aug 2001
PERSATUAN FARMASI MALAYSIAMALAYSIAN PHARMACEUTICAL SOCIETY5B Lorong Rahim Kajai 13, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala LumpurTel: 03-7729 ...
MPS-UCB Award closing date extended to 31st Aug 2001
PERSATUAN FARMASI MALAYSIAMALAYSIAN PHARMACEUTICAL SOCIETY5B Lorong Rahim Kajai 13, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala LumpurTel: 03-7729 ...
Pharmacy of the year 2001: Northern Region (MPS-UCB) - Nomination
For the year 2001, the MPS-UCB Pharmacy of the year Award shall be chosen from the Northern Region (Kedah, Penang and Perlis). This will be ...
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Year 2001

MPS Awards for the year 2001:

  1. MPS-UPHA Gold Medal Award 2001
    The recipients of the awards are:
  1. MPS-UCB Pharmacy of the year Award 2001 (Northern Region)
    The recipient of the award is:
  • Guardian Pharmacy (M) Sdn Bhd, Ground Floor, Penang Plaza, Burmah Road, Penang
    Pharmacist-in-charge: Ms Ong Lean Hoh
  1. MPS-GlaxoSmithKline Pharmacist of the year Award 2001

    The recipient of the award is

    • Professor Yuen Kah Hay
      University Science Malaysi

Mr. Kenneth Ho

The Extent The Pharmacy Curriculum In My University Has Prepared Me To Use Information And Communication Technology (ICT) To Facilitate The Practice Of Pharmacy.

The new millenium – Information and communication technology (ICT) seems to be the subject in everyone’s mind. From smart cards to vision schools and the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), the pharmacy profession is definitely not left behind. We have our Telehealth project which would utilize ICT to a great extent. Pharmacists today have to, in one way or another be in touch with ICT. It is inevitable that we, Pharmacists would be directly affected by ICT especially in the area of k-economy.

One might wonder would the Pharmacy School of Universiti Sains Malaysia, one which was founded more than twenty years ago, prepare their prized pharmacists for the new challenge. For that matter, would any Pharmacy School with its curriculum packed with Pharmacology, Chemistry, Pharmacokinetics, Physiology, Pharmaceutical Technology, Pharmacoeconomy, Pharmacoepidemiology and Clinical Pharmacy have any room for ICT? Well, I could only speak of USM.

In USM, we have a dedicated module entitled Pharmacoinformatics which is basically ICT. In that module, we are guided on how to use ICT to its fullest potential. We are taught to evaluate health-related websites, e-journals and discussion groups. One must have a standard set of criteria in deciding the relevance of a certain website. For example, .com websites are mainly for commercial purposes, while .org / .net / .gov are generally more credible websites. Some of the criteria to make an evaluation would be content, context, citation, credibility of author and censorship, i.e. whether the site is moderated / non-moderated.

In this module too, we were given in-depth knowledge about the Telehealth project. Although not fully implemented, at least we would be prepared for the paradigm shift and would not be caught by surprise.

The final part of the module includes a mini project of web publishing. It sure was an unforgettable experience. Just imagine Pharmacy undergraduates trying to do what the Computer Science undergraduates are specialized in. But, we managed. However the biggest question was – credibility!!! Would another health care professional or the public view our website as credible? Nevertheless, now we know how to design our very own website and could one day use it for k-economy!!

Having said that, I must admit that the use of ICT is very much attributed to the Research Project I undertook. It was the project that made me very inquisitive. There were so many questions which the university library cannot provide an answer, so much to find out about the topic that I was researching on, viz., High Performance Liquid Chromatography Analysis of Phenylthiocarbamyl-Amino Acids in a Total Parenteral Nutrition preparation using Gradient Elution.

It was through the project and the guidance of my supervisor, Dr Tham Sock Ying, that I learnt to utilize the Internet fully for research purposes. There were discussions through e-mail, communicating with scientists in other parts of the world, access to e-journals and to topics not only restricted to my project per se. It was from doing the project that I learnt to establish links with Pharmacists around the globe and Pharmacy Organizations worldwide.

The project has taught me to be critical, to be meticulous when undertaking a pharmaceutical project, to have a new meaning of quality, safety and efficacy of drugs. The project had also enlightened me about the importance of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and has allowed me to apply my little knowledge of Biostatistics.

Lastly, the school has also prepared her students for ICT through her Clinical Pharmacy module. The stress on evidence-based medicine and the ever-changing trend in Pharmacotherapeutics has driven us to keep in touch constantly with the latest updates in Clinical Pharmacy. ICT provides us the best medium to do so. I also believe that the module has given us the foundation to be critical when evaluating clinical outcomes of a certain pharmacotherapeutic approach.

I must also give credit to certain proactive individuals in my class who have started our own on-line clinical discussion group. The group is still active today and has been very helpful since most of us are now house-pharmacists in hospitals.

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Ms. Jayanthi Tamotharan

The Extent The Pharmacy Curriculum In My University Has Prepared Me To Use Information And Communication Technology (ICT) To Facilitate The Practice Of Pharmacy.

In the past, pharmacists in Malaysia might have an image of being technophobes and were assumed to be afraid of technology. Some viewed pharmacy as a field divorced from technology, rather than enabled by it. But today, I think, our pharmacists are fairly opened to the use of technology, seeing its immense benefit when applied for the right purpose.

When I first entered the pharmacy course, I was of the opinion that pharmacist are mainly knowleadable about medicines. But within a few weeks in my course, I realized that pharmacist are supposed to be jack of all trades. A pharmacist to-day should not be just a good pharmacist but should be employing the best practices and technologies available in the world. It will be every pharmacist's dreams to bring the best of the world to Malaysia and see fellow Malaysians benefit from the latest progress made in the world of diagnosis and cure.

To prepare us towards this revolution towards information and communication technology, even in my first semester in University of Malaya, we had to go for the "pharmaco-informatics" course where I was exposed to basic computer skills which helped me immensely in the quest for using information technology (IT) to enable pharmacy. Though the course was fairly rudimentary, it gave me a good insight into what a powerful tool computers and information technology were. Even tough those were the basic skills, they gives us a good exposure to the information and communication technology.

Throughout the pharmacy course in UM, we had to complete a lot of assignments. I poured over many medical journals and magazines but often could not fine the relevant information for the assignment. Then, I was initiated to the "search" tool on the internet, where I found many relevant articles from the leading authorities around the world in the field of medicine. In doing so, I happened to discover a lot of websites which I found to be very useful in providing updated information on most of the current developments in medicine.

From the internet, I learnt to find the latest information on certain drugs, side effects seen with existing drugs, information about all forms of products available in the market, research updates, breakthroughs in medical fields, etc. I was also able to obtain rare medical images of some specialised regional diseases.

We also met a lot of Pharmacists in BBS services and chat rooms who gave a lot of practical feedback from their experiences in the applied pharmaceutical field. This was very useful information to us, pharmacy students.

The requirements for us in UM to do a research project in our final year gave us an opportunity to make use of these methods to the fullest. This was where we had to hunt for hundreds of medical and pharmaceutical journals, and most of them was done using the internet. Besides searching and finding the information, statistical package SPSS was used for analysing and crystallizing the results of the project for the thesis. Thus, the entire thesis would not have been so effectively written, without these Information Technology tools.

We as healthcare providers are required to give a lot of presentations which require us to have good computer skills in presenting slide shows etc. Besides, if we’re in industrial or retail-based pharmacies, we have a chance of using the internet to practise telemedicine to advertise our healthcare products together with their details or also as an alternative to educate the public.

In a nutshell, the ICT curriculum in my university provided one small step to communication and information technology, but it opened a huge window of opportunity and knowledge to me. I think the new generation of pharmacists will make more proactive use of Information Technology, bringing ultimately better pharmaceutical care to the people of Malaysia.

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Ms. Ng Chew Beng

The Extent The Pharmacy Curriculum In My University Has Prepared Me To Use Information And Communication Technology (ICT) To Facilitate The Practice Of Pharmacy.

In this new millenium, ICT has played a very important role in our life. Even in our effort to improve and develop the practice of pharmacy, ICT is definitely an indispensable tool. Information becomes an important element in the various pharmacy fields including research, clinical pharmacy, community pharmacy and etc.

Realizing this fact, the Pharmacy Department of UKM where I graduated has always been modifying the pharmacy curriculum from time to time towards a more ICT-based education. Information technology was introduced as a compulsory subject in the final year (pharmacy course). In my opinion, this subject gave me a lot of information about ICT. From this subject, I learned about the various terms and functions used in the ICT. Besides that, we’re taught to evaluate the reliability of the on-line medical articles, abstracts and journals. This is important since there are numerous false and non-evidence based information on line. It should be stressed that searching for the latest and reliable information about health and medicines are always essential in the practice of pharmacy.

In the UKM pharmacy course, it is compulsory for the final year students to do a final year project. For this project, I had to search for the latest information regarding to my topic. At that time, ICT was the best way to search for information. In the process of information searching, I found out many new health websites which I could surf in the future for the health-related information.

For the clinical pharmacy subject, ICT also became an important source of information. The students were required to evaluate and present two clinical cases every week. Moreover, references were needed to support the evaluation of the cases. Besides the information from the reference books, the review of current literature on clinical practice was also important.

In addition, the final year students were required to gather information and submit a report on a novel chemotherapeutic agent in the "New Approaches In Chemotherapeutics" subject. This approach was suitable to train the student in using ICT since the information of new drug could not be obtained from the reference books. From my point of view, it is a good practice to train the students to search for information of new drugs since there have been tremendous developments of new drugs over the years.

Although the UKM Pharmacy Department had implemented a promising curriculum to prepare the students to work in the era of ICT, there was still a room for improvement in the curriculum. I think it would be a better idea to introduce information technology subject in the first year. This will enable the students to grab the ICT knowledge earlier and use it to search for information to assist their study.

It is also beneficial if the lecturers can use the ICT (where appropriate) in their lectures to make the session more interesting. By using this facility in the lectures, the students can be encouraged to involve in ICT.

As a conclusion, the practice of pharmacy is becoming more challenging in this cyber era and the young generation pharmacists should be well equipped with the knowledge in ICT. I think that the UKM pharmacy curriculum had provided me with sufficient knowledge in ICT to facilitate me in the practice of pharmacy.


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Ms. Lee Ann Hodges

The Extent the Pharmacy Curriculum in My University Has Prepared Me To Use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) To Facilitate the Practice of Pharmacy

The buzzword in almost every profession today is ICT – Information and Communication Technology. A far cry from the huge, unaffordable computers first invented, the latest gizmos such as personal computers (PCs), hand-held PCs and mobile telephones are a common sight in homes and offices all over the world.

The pharmacy industry has also become caught up in the technology craze, which has brought about much change and advancement. Nearly every pharmacy is equipped with a PC that is used for various tasks; from storing patient medication records to keeping check on supplies of stock.

Hence in this day and age, being computer-illiterate is definitely a handicap for the pharmacist. The Schools of Pharmacy at the International Medical University (IMU) and the University of Strathclyde, which I attended as a student of the twinned programme between these two universities, emphasizes greatly the importance of being PC-savvy.

Some modules include computer-assisted learning (CAL) programs which have the purpose of increasing understanding of the material in perhaps a more interesting and challenging way. These computer programs which are loaded onto the main network of the school’s computers have well-coloured graphics that allow better visualization of some abstract concepts. In addition, questions are also included as a means of assessing the students’ grasp of the matter taught.

We have also used computer programs for statistical analysis, both in IMU and at Strathclyde. Experience in utilizing these programs will likely come in handy in our work as pharmacists.

The Strathclyde Pharmacy Interactive Development and Educational Resource (SPIDER), an innovative platform for sharing of course information is available to all Pharmacy students at Strathclyde. All module notes, past examination papers and even a notice board are contained in this portal which is accessible from any computer.

In all our Pharmacy Practice modules, the computer was essential. From basic functions such as printing labels to the capability of detecting drug interactions, the "Pharmacy Manager" program assisted us in preparing and dispensing of prescriptions. Utilisation of the program’s capacity to store patient medication records (PMRs) should be maximized in the pharmacy industry especially with the increasing number of patients on multiple medications.

The twinned programme also encouraged the use of ICT creatively. Microsoft Powerpoint ® presentations were used to illustrate various methods of drug delivery e.g. colonic, buccal and pulmonary. It was a good exercise which allowed us to delve into researching the topic and developing our own ideas to describe the matter in as creative a manner as possible while still focusing on the core topic. Certainly we might be called upon to create similar types of presentations as working pharmacists.

As pharmacy students, we made use of the Internet to a great extent. Part of the Pharmaceutical Care module involved the learning about the role of drug information pharmacists. Tutorials on this subject gave us the opportunity to visit several useful websites for information which covered topics ranging from the Scottish Intercollegiate Guideline Network (SIGN) treatment guidelines to preventive measures when visiting endemic regions of malaria.

The Internet was very valuable for our final year research projects. Topic searches with search engines such as Medscape and Medline turned up with many relevant (and sometimes not so relevant) published papers. This method of looking up past results of workers interested in the same subject was very effective and time saving. All we had to do with the list of papers was to search the library’s collection of journals (also via the Internet from the comfort of our homes) to locate the required material right down to which shelf they were on!

Furthermore, the wealth of information available on the World Wide Web gave us avenues to read around the topics included in our modules. Not only did the extra information gave us an advantage in answering examination questions, but it also taught us how to read and discriminate between amazing claims made by pharmaceutical manufacturers and genuine information on the Web.

Communications with my colleagues and lecturers were simplified tremendously with e-mail. Almost everyone nowadays has an e-mail account and access to a computer. At Strathclyde, we were provided with the e-mail addresses of all our lecturers and this made clearing up doubts about the day’s lecture for example, very easy. A simple e-mail not only allowed for smooth communication between the teacher and the taught but also, and perhaps more importantly, increased rapport between the two parties.

Moving into the era of paperless prescribing and the consequent changing of the pharmacist’s role is inevitable with the advent of ICT. I can honestly say that my three years at IMU and Strathclyde have given me the foundation necessary to begin my practice of pharmacy.

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Year 2000

MPS Awards for the year 2000:

  1. MPS - UPHA Award
  2. MPS - UCB Award
  1. Guardian Pharmacy Alpha Angle
  2. Guardian Pharmacy Bangsar Shopping Centre
  3. Guardian Pharmacy Jaya Shopping Centre
  1. MPS - Glaxo Award


The Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society in collaboration with UCB Asia Pacific Sdn. Bhd., Petaling Jaya started an award for the best Community Pharmacy of the year in 2000. Applications was limited to Pharmacy outlets in the Klang Valley as a pilot project. The aim was to determine and to work out the processes involved on the benchmark standards and the evaluation procedures.

Applications were opened to an MPS member who is in-charge of a community pharmacy outlet. The applicant has to write an essay and fill a questionnaire based on MPS benchmark standards for a community pharmacy. The winner is judged on professionalism of service and standard of the outlet.

The evaluation was based on the questionnaire (QA), assessment of the pharmacy premises and hardware during a site visit by members of the panel of judges, written essay, professional service during the site visit, pharmaceutical care provided in 2 case scenarios with pupil pharmacists as unannounced customers.

The award consists of a plaque for the pharmacy outlet plus a cash award of RM3,000 for the pharmacist involved. The winner of the award presented during Pharmacy Nite 2000 on 19th November was Ms. Wan Chooi Yin of Guardian Pharmacy, Jaya Shopping Centre, Petaling Jaya.

Ms. Wan Chooi Yin who graduated with Bachelor of Science Pharmacy from the National University of Singapore also has a Diploma in Sales and Marketing from the same university. She started as Pre-Registration Pharmacist in the National University Hospital, Singapore, proceeded to work as Pharmacist and Area Manager with Apex Pharmacy and since 1996 was Store Manager with Guardian Pharmacy. At present she is Area Manager and Pharmacist.

Dr. Yeoh Peng Nam
Chairperson, MPS Grants and Awards Committee
9th December 2000

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The Role Of A Community Pharmacy in providing quality healthcare to the Community
by Lim Kian Por, Guardian Pharmacy Alpha Angle Shopping Centre

The community pharmacy has always been, and still is viewed principally as a drug distribution centre, where prescriptions are filled and over-the-counter medication for self-treatment can be obtained. Is the role of a pharmacy just limited to being a purveyor of tablets and creams? What role does a community pharmacy play in the country’s healthcare system and in what way can the profession contribute to providing quality healthcare to the population?

Community pharmacy refers to both the establishment and the profession. The face of a community pharmacy is the pharmacist and his or her professional competence and service qualifies both the establishment he represents and the profession to which he claims allegiance. A community pharmacist is a highly trained professional who has undergone an intensive three or four-year degree course plus a year of pre-registration training.

Community pharmacies are also among the most accessible healthcare premises as they are located in residential areas, shopping centres and high traffic locations such as airports.

As the population ages, the need for more accessible quality healthcare becomes more acute. With the proportion of the public who have been through formal education rising and members of the community are now more aware of their health problems and their options in management of their health. The community pharmacist, with his or her knowledge and accessibility, plays an important role of a consultant for effective and safe self-management of ones health.

Community pharmacy’s professional duties in providing quality healthcare can be categorized thus as:

  1. dispensing of medicines
  2. ensuring patient compliance
  3. providing healthcare advice
  4. providing home healthcare equipment
  5. reporting adverse reactions
  6. liaison with other health professionals
  7. promotion of good health and avoidance of ill health
  8. containing the cost of healthcare.

Dispensing of Medicines

A community pharmacist is entrusted with the task of supplying the correct medication, which is of good quality, in the correct quantity to the intended patient. The profession is considered the guardian of substances which, if misused, can result in life threatening, debilitating conditions or addiction.

This task begins even before a prescription is presented. The pharmacist should ensure products are obtained from reputable suppliers and are of excellent quality. The pharmacy must be equipped to provide the optimal storage conditions for all medication to ensure the efficacy of the drugs and the safety and well being of the patients are not compromised.

When supplying medication, the pharmacist looks out for possible drug interactions or contraindications. He or she ensures that the right medication is supplied to the right person. The medicine is packed in a suitable container and clearly labeled to indicate the name and quantity of the medication and the mode and frequency of administration of the drug. All relevant information regarding possible adverse reaction, storage condition and shelf life are clearly stated.

When the medication is handed to the patients, the relevant points are verbally reinforced as it improves the comprehension and retention of the information by the patient. A poorly informed patient will likely be non-compliant thus compromising their health and safety.

Ensuring Patient Compliance

The pharmacist can assist in ensuring patient compliance with the therapeutic regimens. This can be achieved by the use of boxes with different compartments separating the doses and monitoring the boxes on a regular basis. This method is particularly suitable for elderly patients who are on many different medication and have difficulty remembering the dosage and frequency of administration of each drug.

Providing Healthcare Advice

As our nation progress and more of our population are literate, the thirst for knowledge becomes greater. Self-care and self-medication becomes more common. Treatment of illnesses is not confined to conventional medication; more people are turning to alternatives and traditional forms of health management.

Options are more varied. Many want to take charge of their own health and empower themselves with information on all forms of therapy and participate in forums to discuss issues related to healthcare. The availability of a wide range of medicines and alternative therapies which can be procured without a prescription underlines the importance of the role of a community pharmacist as a consultant on self management of health.

The community pharmacy is an accessible source of information where answers to queries may be obtained and issues are discussed. Pharmacists are trained as communicators, able to assess the conditions based on information furnished by the patient and provide the relevant information regarding the proper use of medication. A pharmacy should be equipped with the latest reference books or other sources of information regarding development in drug therapy and healthcare.

The pharmacist must help the patient interpret the information provided and suggest appropriate self-medication or lifestyle changes to improve their health. When necessary, the patient should be referred to a medical practitioner for treatment.

Providing Home Healthcare Equipment

Apart from pharmaceutical treatment, the pharmacists can also play an important role in providing advice on the proper use of home healthcare appliances such as nursing aids and walking aids. Community pharmacies are also providers of surgical dressing, ostomy care products and health monitoring devices such as blood pressure monitors and blood glucose meters. Sound and accurate advice on the usage and maintenance of these products is essential so that the patient can maximize the benefits of using the products.

Reporting of Adverse Reactions

In our role as healthcare consultants, community pharmacists have a lot of contacts with members of the public. Traditionally, the duty of reporting adverse reactions to medication has always been carried by the medical practitioners.

The trend has shifted to self-care in health management and doctors may not be aware of the myriad of drugs consumed by their patients. By monitoring patient medication records and frequent contacts with the patients, pharmacists may become aware of incidences of drug interactions and adverse reactions. This is particularly true for pharmacy only medicines, over the counter medicines and herbal supplements.

Medical practitioners may not be informed by their patients of the extent of drugs consumed. If the interaction or adverse reaction involves a prescription drug, the matter should be reported to the prescriber. However, for medication provided without a prescription, any adverse reaction can be reported directly to the relevant authorities.

Liaison With Other Health Professionals

In an age where the choice of healthcare options is abundant and ‘doctor shopping ‘ is common, no healthcare professional can work in isolation. It is imperative that the community pharmacist cooperates with colleagues other healthcare professionals.

With the patient’s consent, information on the patient’s medical history, lifestyle or results of monitoring of specific conditions, such as blood glucose levels, can be shared with his or her medical practitioner. Armed with the information the doctor is able to manage the patients' condition more effectively. Complaints of adverse effects of prescribed medication should be noted and transferred to the prescriber.

This cooperation between pharmacist and other health professionals can only benefit the patient. Sharing of information and experiences can bring about an improvement in the quality of healthcare to the public.

Promotion of Good Health and Avoidance of Ill Health

Pharmacists can play an important role in promoting better health in the community. It is imperative that community pharmacists, being often the first point of contact as a healthcare professional, should actively participate in campaigns on health promotion and disease prevention. Such campaigns aim to create an increase awareness of various health issues and stimulate discussions. Members of the public should be encouraged to seek more information from the pharmacists and make choices or changes that may lead to an improvement in their health.

Regular health screening campaigns at community pharmacies may encourage more members of the community to check for signs and symptoms of various health problems. Many who are at risk are oblivious to the potentially life-threatening condition that they may have. In many instances, the condition is detected when the illness has developed to an advanced stage. Health screenings at pharmacies are accessible and those who are at risk can be identified and advised to seek treatment from a medical practitioner.

Containing the Cost of Healthcare

The cost of healthcare is ever increasing and newer forms of patent medicine or surgery may carry a high price tag, which is beyond the means of many.

Many choose self-management as a means of controlling the spiraling cost of managing health. The community pharmacist’s role is to provide safe and efficacious but affordable alternatives to the public. The patient can be offered generic alternatives, which cost less than the patented brand after seeking agreement of the prescriber. The patient can also be advised on the alternatives available for their minor ailments.

Most of all, sound advice and proper education on ill health prevention can lead to better understanding and avoidance of unhealthy lifestyle that may lead to debilitating illnesses in the future. A healthier population will be less of a strain on the already tight public budget for managing the health of the nation.


The quality of healthcare can be influenced by community pharmacy when practitioners of the profession perform their duties as healthcare provider to the community professionally. In providing health related information and sharing our knowledge with the community, we can help them make informed choices that can influence their health and well being.

Lim Kian Por,
Guardian Pharmacy Alpha Angle Shopping Centre
19th November 2000 

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The Role of A Community Pharmacy in providing quality healthcare tothe Community
by Tan Gan Foong, Guardian Pharmacy Bangsar Shopping Centre 

In recent years, the Malaysian healthcare system has changed dramatically. This is largely due to the influence of managed care and increased in consumerism which affects all levels of patient care and the delivery of service.

Twenty or thirty years ago the most common strategy for treating many health conditions, including those requiring surgery, was an in-patient stay of some duration. Today, largely because of advances in technology, including powerful medications, many of the conditions that were treated in hospitals are managed on an outpatient basis. In addition, healthcare is changing because of a rapidly ageing population and the greater use of patient information technologies. Increased drug utilisation, shifting workforce demographics, and a never-ending battle to control the costs of healthcare are also factors in a changing industry.

The pharmacy has clearly been affected by all of these changes to a striking degree. While the proper use of prescription medications has consistently been shown to contribute to an overall decrease in healthcare costs, the annual cost of drug-related problems in our healthcare system is now estimated to exceed RM100 billion. This positions the role of the pharmacist for great success, as the traditional expectations of the public for safe and accurate dispensing of medications are intersecting with an emerging and compelling responsibility of pharmacists for providing quality patient management services.

While some say the pharmacist's role has been "redefined" from medication dispenser to patient care provider, it is more accurate to say the role has been expanded. Pharmacists today remain legally responsible for the safe and accurate dispensing of medication, in addition, they face the challenge, as integral members of the healthcare team, to educate, monitor, and care for patients. The accessibility of pharmacists and pharmacies make them key and logical extensions of the primary healthcare infrastructure of Malaysia.

Several attributes of the profession of pharmacy contribute to its ability to play a vital role in the provision of quality healthcare to the community.

Pharmacist have the knowledge and the opportunity for direct patient interaction on a recurrent basis as well as the patient’s trust to provide pharmaceutical management to help achieve the desired outcomes from drug therapy. Adherence monitoring, patient education, drug therapy management and other patient-focused services such as blood glucose monitoring, cholesterol testing are used in the disease management model to improve outcomes.

The most important role of a community pharmacist is to deliver quality pharmaceutical care to the community. Pharmaceutical care is the systematic and continual monitoring of the clinical and psychosocial effects of drug therapy on a patient. It goes beyond merely transferring medication information to patients to establishing collaborative relationships with them, to devise useful medication regimens, anticipate and manage potential drug-related problems, and reduce logistical barriers to patient adherence.

The primary objectives of pharmaceutical care are avoiding adverse reactions, improving clinical outcomes and therapy adherence and decreasing drug-related hospital and physician visits. The larger role of decreasing overall healthcare costs can also be achieved. To achieve this, the pharmacist must work with the patients and other healthcare professionals to design individualised therapeutic plans that seek to achieve specific outcomes.

The pharmacist plays a key role in gathering pertinent information such as the patient’s level of understanding of the disease and the effects of therapy, the patient’s lifestyle habits, schedules and other activities that would influence the development of a workable regimen. He also needs to take into account the patient’s personal limitations-physical, mental and emotional, that may influence the patient’s ability to use the drug product as intended and the patient’s administration technique for demanding dosage media such as inhaler and injections.

The interchange of patient information between physician and pharmacist can lead to a co-ordinated care approach in which the pharmacist monitors the patient’s progress, compares it with the physician’s therapy goals and notifies the physician if complications arise. In this way, pharmacist serves to identify potential drug-related problems and prevent the occurrence of more serious complications.

Responding to symptoms is another major role of the community pharmacists. Community pharmacists provide the public with convenient access to a source of professional advice on the relief of symptoms and the treatment of common ailments. For many people the pharmacy is the first point of contact with a formal healthcare service. This is due to a number of reasons.

One of the main reason is the pharmacy is conveniently located and easily accessible. The patients know that there will be a pharmacist available to give free, professional consultant or advice. They may also be reluctant to "bother the doctor" with what they regard as a trivial complaint albeit one they cannot ignore. The patient also views this as savings in time and cost, if their symptoms can be alleviated without the need for intervention by a doctor.

The community pharmacist is in an excellent position to advise patient plan therapeutic regimen according to the patient’s financial status. Patients may not reveal to physicians about their financial status due to certain circumstances. Thus, community pharmacist is at an excellent position to advise on this matter as they are aware of the current bioequivalent generic substitution and alternative substitution that are available to suit the patient’s financial status without jeopardising clinical outcome.

Community pharmacist as a front-liner in primary healthcare acts as a referral agent for the physicians. Patients with symptoms or complaints that resemble a more serious condition are referred to the physician for further checks and management. The ability to recognise between moderate and serious symptoms is essential for a community pharmacist as they can play a role in providing advice and immediate ‘first aid’ care in response to emergency situations.

Counselling is an area of importance in pharmaceutical care. The community pharmacist being easily accessible may have a section in the pharmacy for patients counselling. Normally, the pharmacist counsels patients on the disease and the effect of medication used, administration techniques using special devices such as inhalers, nasal spray, insulin injections if needed and other health-related items. Counselling on medications and proper administration of special devices ensure optimal use with less adverse events.

Alongside the medicines, the public also has available in community pharmacies a wide selection of health products such as vitamins, health food, over-the-counter drugs, surgical dressings and appliances and a variety of other products associated with health and hygiene; and professional advice on their proper use is always freely available.

The convenient locations of the community pharmacies make them excellent sites for health promotion, health education and health prevention centres. The contribution made by community pharmacist to health education and the promotion of good health is already widely recognised. The community pharmacists provide advice and counselling on a wide variety of health related matters such as diet, smoking, healthy lifestyle or the choice and use of over-the-counter medicines. They can provide information by way of displays and leaflets. Besides, community pharmacist also participate in health exhibitions, health promotional campaign, talks and more structured health promotional activities such as meetings of special groups and lectures to school and social organisations on topics as the use of medicines or drug abuse.

Education of the pharmacy staff is another key area in which the community pharmacist can contribute. By educating the staff, they are able to play a supporting yet an important role to assist the pharmacist in delivering quality healthcare services. The staff will at least acquire some knowledge of the health items available and will be able to handle some customer inquires before referring the inquires to the pharmacist.

Further to this, continuous pharmacy education for the pharmacists is equally important as it helps to keep the community pharmacist abreast with the current development and trend of healthcare.

There have also been elements of screening and diagnostic testing in community pharmacy in many years. Services such as cholesterol testing, blood sugar test, blood group test are carried out in certain pharmacies. These tests results will assist the patient in monitoring the medication taken or the progression of the disease.

Last but not least, the community pharmacist is the last checkpoint for drugs dispensed under her supervision. Ensuring the correct drug, correct dose at the correct time is very important. Prescription intervention is needed in certain cases where the prescription, directions or writing are not clear. Communication with the prescriber would help to solve this.

In conclusion, the community pharmacist plays a vital role in providing quality healthcare to the community. The direct patient contact historically enjoyed by pharmacists’ places them in a unique position with regard to pharmaceutical care, as this relationship enables them to communicate with physicians to ensure proper prescribing and with patients to ensure adherence and positive outcome.

Tan Gan Foong,
Guardian Pharmacy Bangsar Shopping Centre
19th November 2000

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The Role of A Community Pharmacy in providing quality healthcare to the Community.
By Wan Chooi Yin, Guardian Pharmacy Jaya Shopping Centre

Most people resort to occasional self-medication. We all need to be able to relieve minor ailments such as headaches, ease sore throat, stop diarrhoea, treat corn or soothe insect bites without having to consult a doctor. With the increasing awareness of the various options available, the consumer is now able to take charge of their own health and make informed decisions on their health habits. With this trend, the consumer now recognises the community pharmacy as an avenue for them to obtain health information, supply of medication be it on prescription or self medication, supply of vitamins and healthfoods, supply of self monitoring devises, rehabilitation aids, incontinence and ostomy care. In other words the community pharmacy plays a vital role in providing quality healthcare.

Treatment of ailments

The pharmacist is increasingly seen as a source of accessible, informed and reliable health provider. Consumer doing self diagnosis is affected by numerous factors, including previous experience with the disease; previous experience with health professionals; tolerance of the symptoms involved; perception of the seriousness of the disease; input from friends, family and peers.

However the down side of self-diagnosis is the risk of consumers tendency to view symptoms as temporary. Thus, they may delay seeking professional help and adopt an attitude of " wait and see ". Cost is also an issue, as they fear the need to pay for exorbitant consultation fees over and above their medication costs.

However there are rapid changes in the consumer view towards self-care medication. Consumers are expressing a desire and interest towards participation in their own healthcare. This drives the over the counter medication and pharmacy only medicines (nonprescription) to be made more accessible to them. The community pharmacist has the opportunity to assume the role of drug therapy specialists in the area of nonprescription drug pharmacotherapy.

Community pharmacists have several characteristics that enable them to play an important role in providing quality healthcare to the community.

Dispensing of medicines and patient counseling

The mechanical aspects of dispensing have been reduced because most drugs are now dispensed in the manufacturer’s original packaging. However, modern drugs are much more potent and complex and the knowledge required to dispense them is greater. The pharmacist’s role in processing a prescription to ultimately dispensing it has not change. The pharmacist needs to:

Encourage patient compliance

Many elderly patients and especially those with cardiovascular disease and pulmonary disease are often prescribed a series of medicines and some can be very complex. Here the pharmacist can take on the role to recommend a suitable regime for the elderly to follow and introduce compliance aids. Besides counseling the patient, their family members need to be involved in the counseling too. The task the pharmacist face is to get the patient to take charge of his/her health and to get the family members to have an interest in the disease and outcome of therapy. The patient’s family members could facilitate the reminder role and give moral support.

Centre to disseminate health information

The community pharmacy is an ideal location to disseminate health promotion material. Information provided is generic in nature, non-bias, simplified for the general public. Guardian Pharmacy does provide complimentary health information leaflets for the public.

Patients who find they do not have the time to visit the pharmacy and speak directly with the pharmacist could always telephone the pharmacy to seek for information. This service is free of charge and the only cost to the user is being that of a local telephone call.

Effective communication skills

To be an effective healthcare provider, it is necessary to understand the patient’s perspective. It is vitally important as a pharmacist to be able to put oneself in the patient’s shoes, thereby facilitating patient self-expression.

Effective communication skills require four important aspects. They are rapport building, questioning and listening skills, explaining skills and non-verbal skills. Having the ability to build a rapport between the pharmacist and the patient is the core in effective interaction. It is important for the pharmacist to be able to initiate, maintain and enhance relationships and inculcate friendliness and warmth, including the use of name, expressing genuine interest and concern, reference to previous encounters, being readily available, giving reassurance and preserving confidentiality.

The pharmacist needs to use his/her personal judgment and personal experience to quickly sense any embarrassment on the patient side. In the current community pharmacy setup, an enclosed counseling room is not available. Hence, the pharmacist should quickly suggest moving to a quieter part of the premise to continue the conversation.

Health professionals and patients have different priorities for information about drug treatment. Most patients now are keen to know more about the side effects. Community pharmacist needs to understand the best way to present this information. The information must not be too complex or theoretical for patients to follow or it may instill too fear causing the patient apprehension in taking the medication.

Be part of the national healthcare team

Community pharmacy could form a liaison with the general medical practitioner especially those located within the radius of their practice. If referral is required, arrangements could be made between the general medical practitioner and the pharmacist.

Community pharmacists should recognize the souci-economic status of the patient. Healthcare cost is escalating. Medicines prescribed generically would have substantial savings for the patients who could not afford proprietary drugs. Pharmacist can assist the patient in cost controlling measures.

Enforcement of legislation

Pharmacists have been entrusted with the role of educating the public on safe use of medicines and the prevention of abuse. Thus professional control must be applied in the sale of prescription items and highly abuse drugs. In this aspect the community pharmacists are the final link to the patients and are legally responsible for the safe and accurate dispensing of medicines.

In conclusion, community pharmacist can have an enormous role in providing information, advice and counseling services. Community pharmacy can become an information and education center to serve the public well by promoting safe and effective products and usage. This is in tandem with the growing trend of consumers taking an active role as well as desire for a more personalised service and consultation on the medication they take.

19th November 2000
Wan Chooi Yin
Winner Pharmacy of the Year 2000 (Klang Valley)

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The Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) in recognition of the pharmacist who has contributed significantly towards the advancement of the pharmacy profession and to the society in the year presents the MPS-Glaxo-Wellcome Pharmacist-Of-The-Year Award, for that year. The award consists of a plaque plus a cash award of MR3,000.

The winners for the award so far were: Mr. John CP Chang, 1997, Mrs. Norma Naim, 1998, Ms. Yip Sook Ying, 1999

The winner for year 2000 announced during Pharmacy Nite 2000 on 19th November was Mr. Lam Kai Kun

Mr. Lam Kai Kun, born on Nov 16th 1953 had his early schooling in St. Michael's Institution, Ipoh. He graduated with his Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons) from Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang in 1977. While at USM, Mr. Lam was editor of Farmakon (annual publication for Pharmacy students), represented the university at the International Pharmaceutical Students Federation (IPFS) and participated in the IPFS meeting in Vienna in 1976. He was also a member of the Students Welfare Bureau, a charitable society.

Mr. Lum started his career as a hospital pharmacist in 1977, has held jobs as retail pharmacist and was pharmacist in the marketing department with Hoechst, Malaysia. Later he worked with Delta Pharma Sdn. Bhd. in the wholesale, retail and marketing departments. He then proceeded to work with Hyphens Marketing. Currently he is in- charge of special projects pertaining to manufacturing with Vemedim Sdn. Bhd.

Mr. Lam has contributed extensively to MPS from 1986, when he was the Assistant. Honorary Secretary. He had been MPS Treasurer from 1994 till the present time. Due to his good work, the society's accounts are in a healthy state. He initiated computerization of the MPS accounts in 1996. Mr. Lam was Treasurer in the organising committee of the Federation of Asian Pharmaceutical Associations (FAPA) Conference in 1996 in Kuala Lumpur

Mr. Lam has been a pillar of strength and support for many MPS seminars, brain-storming sessions, dinner and dance committees, health exhibitions and continuing pharmacy education training sessions. At present, he is a member of many of MPS's Chapters. He contributes to the MPS website and was recently involved with renovations of the MPS secretariat premises. He is a member of the committee which has liaisons with Affinity providers. Besides contributions to MPS activities, Mr. Lam Kai Kun has also contributed to the activities of Badan Iktisas Malaysia (BIM).


Dr. Yeoh Peng Nam
Chairperson Grants and awards Committee

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Year 1999

  • MPS-GLAXO-Wellcome Pharmacist-Of-The-Year Award 1999
  • The Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) in recognition of the pharmacist who has contributed significantly towards the advancement of the pharmacy profession in the year present the MPS-GLAXO-WELLCOME Pharmacist-Of-The-Year Award, for that year. Traditionally this award is presented during Pharmacy Nite at the end of the calendar year.

    The award is open to all MPS members. Nominations can be made by the candidate or a nominee on the appropriate form. Selection of the winner is by the MPS Grants and Award Committee based on contributions to the profession as well as to society.

    The winners for the award so far are:

    Mr. John C.P. Chang 1997
    Puan Hajah Normah bt Haji Naim 1998
    Ms. Yip Soor Ying 1999

    Dr Yeoh Peng Nam, Chairperson
    MPS Grants and Awards Committee


  • MPS-UPHA Gold Medal Award 1999
  • The Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) in recognition of the importance of pharmacy education in Malaysia has the tradition of inviting each institution of higher learning with a Bachelor of Pharmacy programme in Malaysia to name the pharmacy student in the graduating class with excellence in academic and co-curricular activities for the MPS Gold Medal Award for that institution for that year.

    The award consists of the MPS Gold Medal plus a cash award of RM500.00. The winner of the award is required to give a 5-minute talk on some aspect of pharmacy education during the presentation on Pharmacy Nite.

    In 1998, MPS presented Gold Medal Awards to 3 graduating pharmacy students from Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Malaya and International Medical College during Pharmacy Nite.

    The 1999 MPS Gold Medal Award has been renamed the MPS-UPHA Gold Medal Award 1999 in recognition of the sponsorship by UPHA Sdn Bhd. The winners are:

    Universiti Sains Malaysia
    Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
    International Medical University
    Mr. Vickneswaran Murugaiyah
    Ms Vahita Banu Abdul Salam
    Ms Lim Pooi Fun

    The Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society congratulates these winners for their achievement. MPS welcomes these winners and all new pharmacists to their pharmacist community in Malaysia. The Society looks forward to their contribution towards better pharmaceutical care for the Malaysian public in the new Millennium

    Dr Yeoh Peng Nam, Chairperson
    MPS Grants and Awards Committee


  • Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society Gold Medalist Award for Malaysian Pharmacy Students 1998
  • Universiti Sains Malaysia
    Ms Irene Yap Siew Ping
    Universiti Malaya
    Ms Lim Wai Hing
    International Medical College
    Ms Cheng Woei Ping