Friday, July 15, 2011

Mandatory recording of P medicines in Singapore - II

'P medicines' refers to Pharmacy-Only medicines, which can be purchased directly from the pharmacy (with approval from the pharmacist) without prescriptions. For background knowledge, HSA is mandating the recording of P medicines starting October this year.

Having thrown up a great deal of possible barriers to effective mandatory recording in my previous post, I shall now talk about some benefits that this can bring since by-hook-or-by-crook we will see it rolls out in full force very soon. (Thus, no matter which Pharmacy-only medicine you are buying, you would need to present your identity card and contact details for registration.)

This benefits listed below are based on the assumptions that the database is shared unbiasedly among the pharmacies and patient details are accurately recorded in the computer system.

1) Medication safety

It allows us to build on existing patient database so that we can easily recall patient's medication history, drug allergy details and medical conditions just like in clinics and hospitals.

In the event of any drug recall, it allows us to track and contact the patients who bought the affected medication.

2) Prevent drug abuse

For certain pharmacy medicines that can be abused, pharmacists can limit the sales frequency and quantities based on records.

3) Assess current medication therapy

Through the record, pharmacists can check for drug efficacy (if patient has been on a medication for a longer than recommended period) and make referral if necessary.

Pharmacists can check for drug interactions if patients reported multiple drug use eg. from polypharmacy, dr hopping (would be ideal if the computer has a built-in interaction checker).

4) Beats partial recording

This is probably frivolous, but this reduces the chance of 'accidentally' missing out on the record when only selected few medicines are involved.

The data-entry spree will officially start October 2011, if you have any opinions take a poll here to make yourself heard!

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