Separation of prescribing and dispensing in Malaysia: the history and challenges

John Jeh Lung Tiong, Chun Wai Mai, Pou Wee Gan, James Johnson, Vivienne Mak

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment / DebateResearchpeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    This article serves as an update to the work by Shafie et al. (2012) which previously reviewed the benefits of policies separating prescribing and dispensing in various countries to advocate its implementation in Malaysia. This article seeks to strengthen the argument by highlighting not only the weaknesses of the Malaysian health care system from the historical, professional and economic viewpoints but also the shortcomings of both medical and pharmacy professions in the absence of separation of dispensing. It also provides a detailed insight into the ongoing initiatives taken to consolidate the role of pharmacists in the health care system in the advent of separation of dispensing. Under the two tier system in Malaysia at present, the separation of prescribing and dispensing is implemented only in government hospitals. The absence of this separation in the private practices has led to possible profit-oriented medical and pharmacy practices which hinder safe and cost-effective delivery of health services. The call for separation of dispensing has gained traction over the years despite various hurdles ranging from the formidable resistance from the medical fraternity to the public's scepticism towards the new policy. With historical testament and present evidence pointing towards the merits of a system in which doctors prescribe and pharmacists dispense, the implementation of this health care model is justified.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)302-305
    Number of pages4
    JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


    • dispensing separation
    • health care reform
    • medicine
    • pharmacy

    Cite this