Why are PRP (Provisionally Registered Pharmacists) facing training problems?

There are many reasons why the PRPs are facing problems to find the training placement this year. Worldwide economic slow-down had affected the Government’s ability to create more training posts. More than 500 last-year PRPs have not completed their 12-months training and hence are still occupying the previously available PRP posts in the Public sector. These existing PRPs will complete their twelve months Internship in batches over next few months, and afterwhich more Training places will be available.

We are aware of this problem and had informed the authority on the urgent need to limit the total number of new Pharmacy Graduates Malaysia should produce. This country has too many universities (6 public universities and 14 private universities) that produce about 1,200 new Pharmacy Graduates every year. Malaysia will probably be the first developing nation that has unemployed pharmacists in near future unless Government make a major policy shift in health-care system.

Higher Education Ministry issues License to any university that produce new Pharmacy Graduates. Health Ministry does not seem to have a control on the issuance of such licenses to universities. Here lies a potential explosive situation where even more licenses may be issued to produce even more pharmacists. There is no easy solution to this problem!

Public sector used to be able to give Training Placement to all the PRPs since the Registration of Pharmacists Act 2003 stipulated the compulsory National Pharmacy Services.

The compulsory National Pharmacy Services were reduced from the original (1+3) years to the current (1+1) years. Financial consideration probably play a role in the reduction.

Private sector can also provide PRP-Training. Credit should be given to the Pharmaceutical Service Division of Health Ministry for “liberalizing the PRP Training to the private sector” since 2013. Less than 200 private community pharmacies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and private hospitals are recognized premises where PRPs can receive their training.

Private sector Community Pharmacies can provide, currently, up to 300 places to PRPs when private doctors are willing to issue the patients precriptions for the Preceptors (namely Senior Supervising Pharmacists) to teach and train these new Pharmacy Graduates into competent registered pharmacists. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO TEACH THESE PRPs without the real doctors prescriptions. Government had been informed of such a situation.

Under POISONS REGULATIONS 1952, Regulation (23), private doctors must write a PRESCRIPTION (Not a Patient’s Note) whenever Controlled Medicines are supplied to patients. This is a LEGAL requirement that MOST independentmedical clinics did not comply with. There is no reason why this legal provision should not be enforced; 63 years of grace-period is beyond understanding.

POISONS (PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCES) REGULATION 1989, Regulation (17) is another legal provision that should have been enforced 26 years ago! Abuses in psychotropic medicines should be reduced immediately. Take action now.

Above two legal provisions should be implemented immediately in order to enable the private Community Pharmacies to partner with Government to provide professional training-teaching to new Pharmacy Graduates. Only Prime Minister, Health Minister, and Director General of Health can provide real help to resolve this matter.