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CMA urges Malaysian govt to withdraw proposed amendments to Poison Act

By Adaku Onyenucheya
17 December 2019   |   3:12 am
The Commonwealth Medical Association (CMA) has urged the Malaysian government and the Ministry of Health to withdraw proposed amendments to the Poison Act.

The Commonwealth Medical Association (CMA) has urged the Malaysian government and the Ministry of Health to withdraw proposed amendments to the Poison Act.

President, CMA, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, told journalists, that the proposed amendments seek to compel physicians to mandatorily issue prescriptions to patients upon their demand, failing which such physicians are to be jailed and fined RM3,000.

Enabulele, who is also a former President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), said while the CMA appreciates the need to advance the rights of patients within the framework of patient centred care, the association is however not in support of any effort that seeks to vitiate the rights or professional autonomy of physicians in the Commonwealth or criminalise refusal of physicians to issue prescriptions.

The physician reminded authorities in Malaysia that medicine like other professions is a self-regulatory profession, and that acts such as the refusal of physicians to issue prescriptions to patients bother on ethical conduct which is meant to be adjudicated upon by the Medical Regulatory Council of each country.

He said to legislate the criminalisation of such a conduct, as contemplated by the recent effort to amend the poison act (enacted in 1952) in Malaysia, is not only an effort at violating the professional autonomy of physicians but an act that is incongruous with the ethical codes/framework guiding the profession of medicine.

Enabulele said the CMA urges the Malaysian government/Ministry of Health to withdraw its proposed amendments to the Poison Act, and seek more sincere and productive consultation with stakeholders, particularly the Malaysian Medical Association and the Malaysian Medical Council, in the review of any aspect of the Poison Act bordering on prescription rights of physicians or the review of any Act guiding the practice of medicine in Malaysia. The CMA is a non-governmental organisation whose main aim and objective is to assist and strengthen the capacities of national medical associations of countries within the Commonwealth to improve the health and well being of their communities and countries.