Pharmacists seek frontliner incentives, contract extensions

Yiswaree Palansamy
The Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) is asking Putrajaya to extend to its members the RM600 monthly allowance for frontline medical workers. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — The Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) is asking Putrajaya to extend to its members the RM600 monthly allowance for frontline medical workers announced in the Covid-19 stimulus package.

In a statement today, MPS president Amrahi Buang said pharmacists were also frontline medical personnel who play a crucial role in combating the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) via the management of drugs.

“The package has emphasised a very interesting aspect with regards to the healthcare profession, which is to provide a special allowance of RM600 per month to frontline doctors and medical staff beginning April 1, 2020. For MPS, pharmacists are part of the medical staff mentioned. They are part of the medical staff who are at the forefront of the Covid-19 outbreak.

“Since the MCO was implemented on March 18, 2020, following the second wave of the Covid-19 outbreak, pharmaceutical services focusing on drug management have been identified as an important service in the government’s strategy to address the Covid-19 outbreak.

“MPS feels that as an essential service, pharmaceutical services should not only be involved in the public sector but also in the private sector. Pharmaceutical services in the community pharmaceutical sector and private hospitals are important assets of the nation, in the battle against the Covid-19 virus that the government must protect, in line with the goals and objectives of the Caring Programme to protect every citizen in the country,” he said.  

Amrahi then listed roles pharmacists fulfilled, including logistical pharmaceutical service, counselling on medication as well as the acquisition of specific drugs for Covid-19 patients and ambulatory pharmaceutical service.

“Pharmacists in both the public and private sectors are frontline medical staff who are eligible for the special allowance of RM600 per month during the MCO enforcement period,” he added.

In a separate statement issued jointly with MPS Young Pharmacist Chapter (YPC) chairman Cedric Chua, both also urged the government to renew the contracts of 3,500 pharmacists due to expire between April and December 2020.

From screening patients to reviewing medication in the ward and dispensing medication in the outpatient pharmacy, Amrahi and Chua stressed that the services rendered by the Ministry of Health (MOH) pharmacists will be critical in supporting the nation’s fight against the pandemic.

“MPS and YPC also strongly believe that the three years of experience that contract pharmacists command from serving the MOH will be crucial in helping the government overcome this crisis. With the battle against Covid-19 expected to continue for months, MPS and YPC strongly believe that MOH will need all the help it can get to support its efforts to contain Covid-19.

“As such, MPS and YPC urge the government to extend the contract of all contract pharmacists,” they added.

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