Sunday, August 14, 2011

‘Medication programme’ aims to cut waste at govt hospitals

Star: PETALING JAYA: As healthcare costs soar, the Health Ministry has found that a substantial amount of medicine dispensed by government hospitals goes unused or expired.
Through its “return medication programme” implemented last year, the ministry now wants to find out more about the causes of this waste and reduce it.
According to Datuk Eisah A. Rahman, the ministry's senior director of pharmaceutical services, the medicine returned to the pharmacy at Kuala Lumpur Hospital for the first half of the year was valued at RM128,818 while at the Sarawak General Hospital, it was valued at RM82,436.
The returned medicine last year at Seberang Jaya Hospital in Penang, Tuanku Fauziah Hospital in Perlis and Tuanku Ja'afar Hospital in Seremban was valued at RM27,899, RM53,769 and RM190,616 respectively.
The ministry is collating data from the other government hospitals.
Eisah said the current figures alone reflect the amount of medicine wasted.
“If we take into account all the hospitals, it would be a substantial amount,” said Eisah.
There are 135 hospitals in the country with the ministry spending RM1.6bil on medicine in 2010, an increase of 14.48% from the previous year.
Eisah said one reason behind the campaign was to help reduce the possibility of the prescription drugs being misused by others.
Most government hospitals and clinics have counters or containers where patients can return or deposit unused medicines.
“There is still lack of awareness about the programme,” she said, adding that Australia, Canada and the United States had similar programmes.
She said that only medicine that had not expired would be reused.
Eisah admitted that a large amount of the returned medicine had to be disposed of, and this was done in a proper way to reduce harm to the environment.
“Improper disposal through the water sewage might pollute our water supply,” she said.
Eisah said the most common medication returned comprised those used to treat cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, anti-hypertensive agents and anti-cholesterol drugs.
Eisah also said a study in the United States showed that one-third of all medicine prescribed ended up unused or expired.
“The amount of medicine dispensed is based on the prescription. Theoretically, they should be finished, and we encourage patients to finish their medicine. If for some reason they can't, then they can return them to us,” she said.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Sabah to have top-notch cardiac centre

Star: KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will have a heart surgery centre equipped with sophisticated equipment on par with the National Heart Institute when the cardiac services unit at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital (HQE II) is fully operational at the end of this month.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the HQE II started a heart surgery service in April and at the end of this month, it would have another operation unit costing about RM5mil.
"This is a huge achievement and its good news for Kota Kinabalu residents, in particular, and the people of Sabah, in general, as they are getting top-notch facilities," he told reporters after inspecting the upgrading of HQE II in Damai Luyang here on Sunday.
Liow also announced an additional allocation of RM3mil to tide over the costs of services at the heart surgery centre, including analysis and diagnosis on heart related ailments.
He said the new heart surgery centre was part of the HQE II improvements besides upgrading of car parks, elevators and structures from levels 6 to 8 costing about RM76mil.
When completed, the number of beds for patients at the hospital will increase from 130 to 384 beds besides the 71 beds, which are rented to a private hospital, Sabah Medical Centre, he added.

Monday, August 01, 2011

First Natural Medicine Programme To Be Launched Next Year

Bernama: KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 1 (Bernama) -- In a joint effort between Malaysian and Taiwanese institutions, an Executive Diploma programme in Natural Medicine will be launched in Taiwan after the Chinese New Year next year.
It will be the first programme to be jointly developed and conducted in the field of natural medicine by the Institute of Professional Development, Open University Malaysia (IPD-OUM)), the Integrative Health Academy (IHA) and the Taiwan Natural Medicine Education Organisation (TNMO).
IHA director Dr Cyril Gunapala said the programme would be taught in Mandarin and offered at the diploma and certificate level.
"However, other programmes will be established in the future and the subjects will be taught bilingually (in English and Mandarin)," he said after a visit by a 15-member delegation from TNMO, here, today.
The delegation visited IPD-OUM to follow up on the many discussions that had taken place to jointly develop and conduct programmes in the field of natural medicine in Taiwan, Malaysia and regional countries.
Natural medicine is a form of natural therapy that includes herbal medicine, homeopathy, and traditional Chinese medicine that has had tremendous growth.
Also present were the head of the Taiwanese delegation Prof Master Yung-Ching Ho and president of the Malaysian Association of Natural Medicine Education (MANME) Prof Dr Y.S. Cheng.