International Press Release: The confederation of Medical Associations of Asia and Oceania strongly condemn the amendments to Poisons Act 1952 in Malaysia and support the Malaysian Medical Association's (MMA) concern in this respect.
CMAAO urges the Malaysia Government to withdraw the proposed Poisons Act 1952 Amendments Bill, which may have been drawn up without meaningful consultations with medical professionals.
The new amendment proposes possible jail term for private medical doctors, dental surgeons and veterinarians who do not comply with requests for prescriptions by patients. Such severe and harsh penalties should only be for offences that result in severe consequences.
In every country it is the job of the medical council to handle such ethical issues. They have the power to cancel the license of doctors for unethical acts or practices. The inclusion of a jail sentence is needlessly draconian.
Good medical practice suggests that upon request of a prescription by a patient, it should be given without any hesitance by the doctor. The issue therefore concerns medical ethics rather than a criminal act.
The question is also whether the pharmacist or pharmacy should also be penalized with a jail sentence if they give medicines without a prescription.
Dr KK Aggarwal, President CMAOO said that CMAAO does not support criminalization of any professional group, including pharmacists.
The existing Poisons Act, Medical Act 1971 and the Code of Professional Conduct clearly stipulates the prescription rights of patients upon request.
CMAAO is also concerned about the wide-ranging power granted to enforcement officers, especially as there seems to be virtually no recourse available in the courts against them.
Padma Shri Awardee
President Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)
Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications
President Heart Care Foundation of India