The confederation of Medical Associations of Asia and Oceania strongly condemns the amendments to Poisons Act 1952 in Malaysia and supports the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) concern in this respect.
CMAAO urges the Malaysia Government to withdraw the proposed Poisons Act 1952 Amendments Bill, which it looks has been drawn up without meaningful consultation with the medical profession.
The new amendments propose possible jail terms 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 for such ethical issues it is the job of a medical council to handle such issues. They have the powers to cancel the license of doctors for unethical acts. The inclusion of a jail sentence is needlessly draconian.
Good medical practice dictates that upon request of a prescription by a patient, it should be given without any hesitance by the doctor. The issue is therefore one of medical ethics rather than a criminal act.
The question is also whether the pharmacist or pharmacy too will 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 powers granted to enforcement officers, especially as there seems to be virtually no recourse available in the courts against them.