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I think HUKM pharmacist Dexter Von Dort is not telling the truth. I am a regular patient at HUKM and so is my wife. When a drug is required to be bought outside the counter pharmacist tells the patient, buy the medicine outside, thats it, no information is given there of the free alternative. If there is a free alternative why would one spend money to get it outside.

Does the pharmacy keep the Doctors informed as to what alternative drugs are available, so that a remark can be made in the prescription form – the counter pharmacist cannot and will not change what the doctor has prescribed. Long term patients having a prescription for supply of drugs for 8 months, like in my case, have to make many visits during that period to get the medicine. You will be lucky until the third or fourth visit and after that supply of the drug is not available and you are told to get it outside. How on earth do you get an alteration to the prescription slip given a few months back.

By the way, this 8 month, so called regular check up is a joke with the patients. God willing, they say, I should be around for the next 8 month visit, provided nothing happens from now on until the 8th month. This includes patients who are elderly and suffer from cardiology and high blood pressure problems. The reason we are told, is that many doctors have left the hospital and they are over worked. The doctor assures you if anything happens in the interim go to the emergency department for treatment. This emergency department is over-worked as well and you have to be vetted before seen by a doctor and God help you if the doctor thinks the case is minor, you are send home with some medicine given. Though called emergency, there was a day I went in at 7 am for pain in my leg and seen by the doctor at around 11 am because my case was not important. I wonder if ever the bosses visit the emergency department to see the hive of activity there.

Drugs bought at the HUKM private pharmacy is more expensive than the price you pay at the pharmacies in town. My Plendil drug is about RM 70 at the hospital privacy pharmacy, and outside it is RM 52. Discounted price indeed. I believe this pharmacy is a co-operative run thing, and somebody is surely making money at the expense of poor patients.

Never heard of aid from the Medical Social Department at HUKM. Is it still in the planning stages or in the imagination of the Dexter.

I am told this drug running out problem, which HUKM faces, is not faced by the General Hospitals. Lately the hospital is equipped with plasma type TVs, patients do really enjoy viewing them!!!

Any way I hope somebody from the Health Ministry reads this to do away with the drug running short syndrome at HUKM.

New Straits Times Online……

KUALA LUMPUR: Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM) has clarified that it is not having budgetary problems, but has moved certain expensive drugs to the “non-formulary” list to ensure the budget stretches to the end of the year.
HUKM pharmacist Dexter Van Dort told the New Straits Times: “The decision to move some products into the non-formulary list is to make sure our budget allocation lasts till the end of the year, in view of an increase in the number of patients and a general increase in the cost of medicines.”

Drugs on the non-formulary list must be purchased, as opposed to the formulary list of medicines which are given out free.

Van Dort was commenting on complaints of patients to the newspaper that they had difficulty obtaining certain drugs.

“These items are generally propriety items that have a free alternative but have reached their agreed buying limit for the year.”
The patients, who did not want to be identified, said they were surprised when told at the pharmacy they would have to purchase certain drugs.

One complainant said: “I cannot afford to buy such expensive drugs outside. We could not get a satisfactory explanation. If there was a free alternative they should have explained to us or told our doctors.”

He said they were made to understand the hospital was making patients buy the drugs because it could be running low on its budget allocation.

Van Dort said most of these drugs can be substituted with the free alternatives if the patient does not want to buy them.

“At no point is a patient’s health compromised by this action.”

He said all of these items are usually sold, or considered non-formulary drugs, in other teaching hospitals.

Furthermore, he said, all these products are available at the HUKM retail pharmacy at discounted prices.

He added if the doctor is of the view a patient needs to be on a certain drug, and he or she cannot afford to buy it, he or she will be referred to the hospital Medical Social Department aid.

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