The new Poisons Act amendment – the ridiculousness of it!
An amendment to the Poisons Act of Malaysia is being tabled in Parliament and if it becomes law, it will be a serious quandry for doctors.
The amendment is as follows
The new Bill, if passed, will make it mandatory for doctors to provide prescriptions upon request from patients, failing which they will be guilty of an offence that is punishable by a maximum RM3,000 fine, up to one year’s imprisonment, or both.
The amendment Bill proposes an additional subsection 2A to Section 19 of the Poisons Act on the supply of poisons for the purpose of treatment that says “a registered medical practitioner, registered dentist or registered veterinary surgeon shall, upon request from his patient or client, issue a prescription for the sale or supply of such poison for the purpose of medical or dental treatment of such patient or animal treatment of animal tended by him, respectively.”
An amendment was proposed to Section 19(4) to state that registered medical practitioners, dentists, or veterinary surgeons who “decline to issue a prescription upon request by his patient or client” shall be guilty of an offence.
Note that the amended bill DOES NOT say that the request for prescription is AFTER A CONSULTATION. One takes this to mean that a patient can walk in to any clinic and demand a prescription which the doctor must comply otherwise face a fine and jail!
Doctors are already faced with demands for psychotropic medication and other potential drug abuses. A prescription is a serious document indicating the medication which the practitioner deems appropriate for a patient.
No one is disputing that it is the ethical thing to do to provide a prescription when the patient requests it, AFTER consulting a doctor who has prescribed the treatment.
The wording of the bill will make it very precarious now for doctors as there is no protection from unreasonable demands and also it CRIMINALISES the offence by including a jail term. This is unreasonable and ridiculous.
A pharmacy which dishes out Group B Poisons without prescription (it is common knowledge this offence occurs daily in Malaysia) does far more harm. Perhaps this should be dealt with a jail term too?
We hope rational heads prevail and the amendment of the Bill not passed and future amendments worded properly after proper thought is given to the consequences.