Ktetaichinh’s Blog

December 15, 2009

Drug prescriptions unreliable: officials

Filed under: Uncategorized — ktetaichinh @ 6:45 pm
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December 15, 2009  about Uncategorized

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Around 73 per cent of doctors’ prescriptions have not been properly checked, nor have patients been properly advised on drug prices and potential side-effects.

According to the Ministry of Health’s Examination and Treatment Management Department’s deputy director Cao Hung Thai, the main reason for the situation was a serious shortage of pharmacists nationwide.

“Technically, pharmacists are in charge of consulting and guiding patients how to use medicine effectively, safely and properly at reasonable costs. They play an important role in medical treatment,” Thai said.

However, many patients still purchase drugs without professional consultations as the number of pharmacists at hospitals and health clinics remains inadequate and their professional skills are limited.

A survey made among 245 hospitals nationwide showed that there were only 470 pharmacists serving nearly 52,000 hospital beds, or a ratio of 0.009 pharmacists per bed, while the ministry’s required rate was 0.06 per bed.

Le Viet Hung, rector of the Ha Noi University of Pharmacy, said an inadequate curriculum, out-of-date teaching and studying methods and shortage of educational equipment at colleges were the main reason for poor-quality pharmacists.

As a result, many graduates lacked practical experience, independent research capacity and other requirements such as foreign language and computing skills, he added.

Viet Anh, a pharmacist working at pharmaceutical company Merck Serono, said students only had a two-month probation period at hospitals during their five year study, while clinical treatment still remained a short-term subject, so the quality of pharmacists could hardly meet the requirement.

“The number of qualified pharmacists is generally limited. It will take time to fix the problem,” he said.

University representative Thai Nguyen Hung Thu, said the Ha Noi University of Pharmacy would adjust the curriculum on training pharmacists for the next academic year.

It would focus on professional skills for students during their five-year study and create some new modules, including communication skills and medical and moral psychology to improve pharmacist training.

The ministry has set a target of 15 pharmacists per 10,000 people by 2015. The current rate is 1.19 over 10,000 people, according to deputy minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien.

Tran Quoc Kham, from the ministry’s Science and Training Department said the ministry would work with the Ministry of Education and Training to renew the curriculum, conduct a pilot project to co-operate with international universities and colleges, and build supporting policies to attract students to study and work in rural areas.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

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