Thursday, 2 August 2012

RM5 charge by pharmacists could trigger free-for -all

FMT LETTER: From The Healer, via e-mail

The proposal that pharmacists charge a RM5 professional “consultation fee” for medical advice is  both ridiculous and absurd. One of the reasons given was that some customers abused the existing free consultation system and purchased prescriptions or medicine elsewhere. This could potentially open the floodgates for others in the services industry to start charging customers based on the same excuses.

Imagine bankers who gave free advice on home loans and investments, real estate agents, car workshops, second hand car salesman and insurance agents also start charging RM5 or more professional fees  each time you “consult” them, the reason that the customers don’t always take a loan or buy the property or repair the car with them after seeking their ” professional” consultations. Absurd, isn’t it?

The pharmacists are already paid a monthly fixed salary, and why the need to charge extra for their advice? Imagine 20 walk-in customers a day seeking advice, and that equals to RM100 per day, multiply that by 20 days (taking into account days off, etc.), and it works out to RM2,000 a month, just for giving mostly simple medical advices.

Yes, some customers do abuse the current free privileges and free advice by those in the service industry, but many companies also pay fixed monthly allowances for toll, phone calls and petrols for these staffs. They are paid to offer “professional advices”

First, we have doctors proposing to increase their consultation fees,  and now the pharmacists have also joined in the fray. Many of the poorer and even middle income earners will suffer and avoid  seeing a doctor or pharmacist unless absolutely neccessary, and seek cheaper alternatives from sundry shops and pasar malams, thus endangering their lifes.

I seriously implore the relevant authorities to consider the consequences of the decision, and don’t always give the same excuse of “our fees is among the cheapest compared to some countries”. It could trigger a domino effect where other industries could start charging the rakyat for every “advice” given.

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