From the 1970s until now, pharmacy practice in Malaysia is more emphasized in hospitals. Although there is a shift from product-oriented to patient-oriented, I still think that it is not enough to deliver Malaysians healthcare needs.
On the other hand, Malaysians also underestimate the capability of community pharmacists to make changes. For most Malaysians, a community pharmacy is just a place where they purchase their drugs. They do not realize the roles of community pharmacists to ensure the proper regime of drugs and provide counseling. They even deem community pharmacists as business dealers. For example, some people just visit from one pharmacy to another pharmacy to compare the prices of drugs and bargain with holders.
In my opinion, it is an unhealthy phenomenon. Firstly, we should realize the roles of community pharmacists to provide health information and medication counselling. Malaysia is a multi-raced country and language sometimes is a barrier for medication understanding. In the Malaysian healthcare system, patients will collect medications and have a counseling session with the hospital pharmacists. However, some patients might misunderstand the instructions given by the hospital pharmacists due to language. This leads to noncompliance, to a severe extent, medication error might occur. In this scenario, community pharmacists can take up the roles to provide comprehensive medication counseling to the patients.
However, it is sad to see most Malaysians don't believe in community pharmacists or even doubt their capabilities because they feel community pharmacists' aims are earning money from them. In other words, community pharmacy has great potential to aid in the formation of a more systematic and transparent healthcare system in Malaysia but this issue has been neglected by the public as well as the health authorities.
What are others' opinions regarding community pharmacy practice? I am very interested in the practice of other foreign countries and learn from it. I hope I can incorporate some pivotal community pharmacy practice elements of other countries into Malaysia to revolutionize the roles of community pharmacy in Malaysia.