Sunday, November 11, 2012

How to be Pharmacy-Smart and Medicine-smart?

You visit the pharmacies in Singapore but have many frustrations or misunderstandings when communicating with the pharmacist. You wonder why the pharmacist can't dispense you certain medications that you can buy off the shelves oversea. You wonder why the pharmacist can't dispense your prescription. If that is what you are experiencing, here is a quick guide on how to be Pharmacy-Smart and Medicine-smart.

1) Present your IC when purchasing Pharmacy Only medicines.
This will shorten the time needed for the pharmacist to ask if you are already registered or verbally verifying your IC number /name. If you do not know why you must do that, please refer here regarding the mandatory recording of P-med sales.

2) Bring along your original prescription signed by the doctor whenever you need to collect your prescribed medicines - whether it is new or partially supplied previously.
Just like you need real money to buy stuff. DO NOT bring faxed, photocopied, duplicate or altered (without dr's signature, note: it is illegal to alter your prescription) prescriptions and expect them to be dispensed. Do convert your foreign ones to local ones too before you come to the pharmacy. No digitally signed prescription either, even if your visited GP is high-tech enough to have digital/ online prescribing.
Once the prescribed quantity of medicines are fully dispensed, the pharmacist will have to file your original prescription away. You may ask for a photocopy but that will not allow you to get further supplies.

3) Check your prescription before leaving the clinic.
If you want a particular medication but the one written on the prescription looks different, verify with your doctor on the spot on why is that so. This will save the pharmacist and your time from having to call the doctor to make an intervention on your script. For safety reasons and by law, pharmacists will not supply medication that is different from the one prescribed without getting the doctor's approval.
Some prescriptions which are not signed by the doctor are not allowed to be used for medicine collection in other pharmacies except that of the hospital visited eg. National Skin Center. Polyclinics do not except outside prescriptions

4) If you want to know if a medicine requires prescription or is registered in Singapore, you can do a search at the HSA website.

5) If you want to learn more about the medicine you are using, please refer to the product inserts.
Product inserts would usually list the dosage, usage instructions and side effects. If you are still unclear, check with your pharmacist.

6) Let your pharmacist know if you have any allergy to medicines, medical condition (including pregnancy, lactation) or using any medications currently when purchasing medications.

7) Do not expect any medications to be free of side effects or would not cause allergy. Unless you want a placebo.
As different people has different genetics, response to the medications and extend of side effects experienced may vary.
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So there you go - 7 simple things to ensure yourself efficient and effective services from the pharmacists.
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1 comment:

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