Dispensing doctors have criticised the implementation of a new model for pharmaceutical business saying it could result in doctors not having dispensing licences renewed.
In a statement Dr Norman Mabasa, Chairman of the Society of General Practitioners (SGFP), said they did not agree with the Government's argument that doctors should prescribe and pharmacists should dispense. He said that doctors firmly believed that if they were skilled enough to prescribe, they should also dispense, and that they were in a better position to dispense medication because they were the ones who made the diagnosis.
He said the SGFP, which is affiliated to the SA Medical Association (SAMA), welcomed the Medicines and Related Substances Control Amendment Act because it allows the government access to affordable drugs. But it also contained provisions that would regulate dispensing doctors and could mean that many doctors would not be granted licences to continue dispensing.
Mabasa said that dispensing doctors were rendering an essential service in their communities and could offer drugs cheaper to patients who do not have easy access to pharmacies. He said dispensing doctors were in a better position to monitor a patient's progress and whether the medication was taken correctly.
Mabasa added that doctors were not in competition with pharmacists and as such would not wish to be involved in any debate that might suggest any presence of conflict. He said doctors did not fix drug prices, and were prepared to dispense drugs at cost price and only charge a dispensing fee as regulated. He said a meeting had been requested with the Department of Health to discuss the impact of the provisions of the new act.
Source: The Citizen, 24 May 2001