There have been many ways for consumers to buy controlled medicines without prescriptions such as illegal sales through the internet, in clinic or pharmacy, and in traditional medicines or herbal remedies outlets that have been adulterated with controlled medicines.
Defination of controlled medicines
Controlled medicines refers to medicines that are controlled through the provisions under the Poisons Act 1952. These medicines are categorized into Group B and Group C medicines under the Act.
The Group B medicines under the Act can only be sold or supplied for the purpose of treatment by a registered medical practitioner, registered dentist or veterinary officer for their patients only. Sale or supply by a licensed pharmacist can only be done with a prescription prescribed by a registered medical practitioner, registered dentist or veterinary officer.
Example of Group B medicines are hypertension and diabetic medicines.
Meanwhile, the Group C medicines can only be sold or supplied for the purpose of medical, dental or animal treatment, by a registered medical practitioner, registered dentist or veterinary officer, or can be sold or supplied by a licensed pharmacist on the premise specified in the licence.
Example of Group C medicines are antacids and decongestants.
The list of substance in medicine that is controlled as poison and their classes can be checked under the Poisons List, First Schedule, Poisons Act 1952.
The grouping of medicines is made based on the risks of the medicines to consumers. The Group B medicines have a higher risk compared to Group C medicines.
For the purpose of this article, the discussion regarding controlled medicines is more related to Group B medicines.
The need for prescription according to the law
Prescription means instruction made by a doctor that instructs to supply medicine for the purpose of treatment to patient.
Section 21, Poisons Act 1952 states the need for a prescription prescribed by a registered medical practitioner, registered dentist or veterinary officer for the sale and supply of Group B medicines.
Every prescription must be in the form required by the law and contain the following details:
- Prescriber’s signature and date
- Prescriber’s address
- Name and address of patient
- Amount of medicine to be supplied and the dose
- The duration and frequency of the supply
If there is a breach of law and a person is guilty of an offence under the Poisons Act 1952, one can be given a penalty of fine up to RM 3,000.00 or prison up to 1 year or both.
Effects of buying controlled medicines without prescription.
Purchasing and subsequently taking controlled medicine without prescription can cause adverse effects to consumers.
If consumers buy controlled medicine without prescription, the patient’s condition might not be treated well. In the case of hypertension medicines for instance, a doctor must monitor the patient’s blood pressure and then prescribe medicine with suitable dose. If the dose is too high, there will be risks of adverse effects especially if overdose.
Diabetic patients who are not being treated well will result in complications. Patients with uncontrolled diabetes can lead to eye problems.
There are certain medicines that have a low therapeutic index. Patients who are taking this kind of medicines must be closely monitored. Therefore, it is important for consumers to get the right advice regarding the use of these medicines.
Antibiotic is an example of Group B medicine that is controlled under the Poisons Act 1952. Buying controlled medicine like antibiotic without prescription can lead to antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance happens when infectious bacteria are able to resist the effects of antibiotic. This could lead to to worse reinfection. When this situation occurs, the antibiotic become ineffective and another stronger antibiotic needs to be used. The use of higher dosage of antibiotics could also lead to worse adverse effects to the patient.
For pregnant mothers, taking controlled medicine without consulting a doctor or pharmacist can cause adverse effects to the pregnancy.
If birth control pill is given without consulting a doctor or pharmacist, it can give adverse effects to patient especially to those with high blood pressure and can lead to complications such as stroke.
Purchasing controlled medicine illegally can also lead to drug abuse. For example, the abuse of sleeping pills by drug addicts.
Drug-to-drug interactions and drug-to-food interactions can also cause adverse effects to consumers.
Purchasing controlled medicine without proper supervision of a certified professional can also lead to polypharmacy.
- Consumers must make sure that the doctor provides prescription for controlled medicines.
- Consumers must make sure that the prescription contains all details needed in a prescription to make it valid..
- Consumers must report to the Pharmacy Enforcement Division regarding any sale of controlled medicine without prescription.
- Consumers must use medicine correctly and according to the instruction given.
- Consumers must discuss with pharmacist or doctor if there is any uncertainty regarding their medicines.
- Consumers must understand that purchasing controlled medicine without prescription is illegal.
- Poisons Act 1952
|Last Reviewed||:||21 July 2017|
|Writer/Translator||:||Nurhafizah bt. Hasan|
|Accreditor||:||Munira bt. Muhammad|