RELEVANT ORGANISATIONS have settled their disagreement over the contentious point of who is qualified to dispense drugs in Thailand.
To end the dispute over the current Drug Bill, it was yesterday resolved that the bill will clearly state that only pharmacists, dentists, doctors and veterinarians can handle drug dispensing.
“We will revise the bill based on the resolution and submit the revised version for the public health minister to consider,” Food and Drug Adminis-tration’s (FDA) deputy secretary-general Dr Surachoke Tangwiwat said.
Representatives of pharmacist networks, universities producing pharmacists and the Public Health Ministry were present at the meeting.
Working under the ministry, the FDA has drafted the Drug Bill to replace the current law that has been in effect for more than half a century.
The bill initially met with stiff opposition because pharmacists felt the ambiguity over who could dispense medicines could hurt checks-and-balances within the healthcare sector. Some critics wondered whether the bill was designed to favour investors who might be interested in opening pharmacies.
Jira Wipaswong, president of the Provincial Public Health Pharmacy Club, said he was satisfied with the resolution although some contentious points remained.
Despite the drug-dispensing resolution, participants at the meeting could not agree on how to categorise medicines.
The drug bill divides medicines into four categories: special controlled drugs, dangerous drugs, other medicines that don’t fit in the two previous categories and general medicine for home use. Pharmacists called for the medicines to be divided into three groups: doctor’s prescription drugs, medicines that pharmacists can dispense right away and general medicine for home use.
“We won’t withdraw the drug bill from the ongoing process. But we will just keep the parts of this drug bill that all parties agreed upon. For other contentious points such as the medicine categorisation, we will ask the drug bill-drafting committee to review it,” said the permanent secretary for public health, Dr Jessada Chokdamrongsuk. He promised to alter the bill based on the consensus of organisations involved before forwarding the draft law to the Cabinet.
Jira suggested that it would not be difficult to amend the draft law because contentious parts could be replaced with legal clauses from the current drug law that is now in effect.
“We are not against the whole bill. We just oppose some clauses in it. If those clauses are amended or replaced, then things will be okay,” he said.
Published : September 04, 2018
By : The Nation