3 years ago, i wrote an article about a pharmacy which was treating patients like a doctor‘s clinic. In fact that was the 2nd time I wrote about the same pharmacy. For the first, I sent an official complain to Jabatan Kesihatan/KKM and for the 2nd I sent the letter to JKN. However, I never received any further feedback from any one of them. Typical of any government agencies which never provide any feedback. Wonder whether it is under Official Secret Act!
While over the last few years, I do see patients being prescribed medications by pharmacist which they should not be prescribing in the first place, I just kept quiet as I felt it is worthless complaining. I have seen Prednisolone being given by pharmacist without prescription and even NSAIDS being given continuously without even knowing the patient’s renal status. Worst still, I have even patients buying Methotrexate from pharmacy without even my prescription.
Last week, yet again I saw the VERY SAME pharmacy/pharmacist prescribing the following 2 medications to a patient with poly arthritis of 1 year duration!
According to the patient, she was not even examined by the pharmacist. He just listened to her complains and gave her the medications above. One is a steroid(Betamethasone) and another is Sulphasalazine! Patient developed allergic reaction to Sulphasalazine and THANKFULLY, she stopped the medications. Sulphasalazine contains sulphur and allergic advise should always be given as it can cause Steven Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis. I will always advise patients about allergic reaction whenever I prescribe Sulphasalazine. Furthermore, this is a generic Sulphasalazine! Finally, one fine GP referred this patient to me.
So, what action has the JKN taken to this pharmacy? How in the world they can continue to prescribe these type of medications to the general public? I forwarded yet again this picture to a colleague of mine in JKN for further action. While I don’t expect anything much but at least I have done my job to protect the public.
ON another note, why did this patient even landed up with a pharmacist? Sometimes, we are to be blamed for all these issues. Patient had seeked multiple consultations from various GPs and Klinik Kesihatans but was only given NSAIDS. Patient has clear-cut Rheumatoid Arthritis. Her RT wrist is almost fused now.
Then we have TCM practitioners who are happily treating patients with “so-called” herbal medications which obviously contains steroids. The moment the patient walks into my clinic, I will give them a spot diagnosis and most of them will be shocked! An obvious Cushing’s syndrome. Serum Cortisol levels will be < 16 in almost all these cases. I do this just to prove to the patient that they have been taking exogenous steroids. Interestingly, recently I came across a patient who was given intravenous infusion by a TCM practitioner over the last 2 months. It was given periodically with tapering dose durations. The patient has Rheumatoid Arthritis. The patient definitely looked Cushingoid. Was he giving steroid infusions? “ Hari ini masuk ubat, besok boleh lari lor“, exactly what the patient told me! Obviously it is steroids! I wonder whether the person giving it knows that these are all steroids and nothing miracle! Or are they giving western medicine in the name of herbal medicine?
I call a spade, a spade all the time. Many do not like me because of this but I have my principles. Patient safety comes first in all instances. Sometimes, we doctors are to be blamed for all these distrust going on out there. While I have said that patients are becoming more and more naturalistic, claiming we are giving chemical to destroy their kidneys etc, doctors are also venturing into unethical medicines. Unethical practices are NOT uncommon nowadays. I have seen enough steroids being given by doctors themselves. Just saw a 76 year old man with OA knees given betamethasone daily for the last 3-4 years. The daughter is asking me why is his skin becoming thin with easy bruising! How am I suppose to answer that when I know exactly what’s the answer. I saw a patient with generalised body-ache being given Prednisolone 5mg tds! Am I outdated or something? Many doctors out there still do NOT label their medications despite the law mandating it. Eventually business and profit takes over you, either consciously or unconsciously!
It’s called “Prostitution of Medicine“, a word described by the late Prof TJ Danaraj, the founding Dean of University Malaya medical faculty. Commercialisation of medical education and medical practise will eventually lead to this. Medicine is used to make money. It’s not a noble profession anymore.
The world on the other hand is going mad, especially in Malaysia where race and religion is used for business. WE have doctors promoting anti-vaccination (circulating in Facebook) and home birth. In fact, my wife just saw a HO who refuse to vaccinate her child! She is still doing her Housemanship. Interestingly, her husband who is not a doctor is not against it !We have doctors promoting supplementary products claiming can cure every illness in the body. We have an apex University promoting miracle water, suppose to cure 150 illness. We have syariah compliant dental clinics , whatever it means! What’s next ? Halal and Non-Halal clinics/hospitals? Trust me, we will be seeing more and more of these type of issues creeping into this country.
The practise of medicine is never the same anymore. I enjoyed practising medicine during the first 10 years of my service when patients listens to you and unethical practices were almost unheard of. Now, it saddens me when I see patients refusing medical treatment, refusing vaccines, unethical doctors, lost of clinical medicine and the rise of investigative medicine(make money for corporate guys). The rise of vaccine preventable infections like Diphteria and Measles are part of the consequences of our society’s ignorance. Wondered why our medical forefathers created medical councils run by medical practitioners to control the ethical practise of doctors? They had predicted few centuries ago that medical practise can be misused for profit and the world of medicine will eventually undergo slow death.
Many youngsters will realise all this when they start their practise. With more and more doctors being produced with huge debts behind them, medical business will only get worst! While my books will hit the stores within the next 2-3 months, I am now preparing for my 3rd book which hopefully will be released next year.
Selamat Hari Raya 2016 to everyone……………