Ministry of Health to meet stakeholders tomorrow on poisons bill

KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) will hold a face-to-face discussion tomorrow with private GPs, community pharmacists and veterinarians on the Poisons (Amendment) Bill 2022.

Pharmacy associations like the Malaysian Pharmacists Society (MPS) and the Malaysian Community Pharmacy Guild (MCPG), as well as medical groups like the Malaysian Medical Associations (MMA), Federation of Private Medical Practitioners’ Associations, Malaysia (FPMPAM) , the Malaysian Association of Medical Practitioners Coalition (MPCAM) and the Malaysian Association of Muslim Doctors (Perdim) and veterinary groups like the Malaysian Veterinary Medical Association (MAVMA) are among the 10 invited groups.

Three representatives from each group are invited to attend the one-hour meeting to be held at the Ministry of Health headquarters in Putrajaya, according to the ministry circular dated May 9 seen by code blue.

The meeting, which will be chaired by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin tomorrow at noon, aims to bring together stakeholders to “discuss the issues” of the Poisons Amendment Bill which was tabled for first reading in the last Parliament meeting on March 14.

According to the program of the meeting, a briefing on the Government’s proposed amendments to the Poisons Act 1952 which regulates medicines is scheduled for 20 minutes, with a question and answer session for the 10 invited groups scheduled for an additional 25 minutes.

“We leave with an open mind, but wonder how the comments of so many groups will be documented in 25 minutes,” MPCAM Chairman Dr. Raj Kumar Maharajah said. Code blue.

“Fundamentally, we are unhappy with the sweeping powers to be given to law enforcement officers, which we believe is draconian. Do not give doctors the opportunity to defend themselves. Laws like this will forever destroy the reputation of doctors, even if they are found innocent later,” he added, when asked what MPCAM would raise at tomorrow’s meeting with officials from the Ministry of Health.

“It could also affect the defendant’s mental health and is similar to the intimidation that is entrenched in the Ministry of Health and its hospitals.”

Several health professional groups have already spoken out against the Poisons Amendment Bill 2022, including MMA, MPCAM, FPMPAM and the Malaysian Dental Association (MDA).

The Poisons Amendment Bill dramatically increases penalties for medicine-related offenses committed by health care providers and allows raids on clinics or pharmacies similar to raids for banned narcotics by strengthening the powers of running government pharmacies.

The proposed changes revise the general penalties for poisons law offenses from the maximum prison sentence of one year to five years imprisonment, in addition to increasing the maximum fines of 3,000 by 17 times. RM at 50,000 RM.

Under the Amendment Bill, appointed drug enforcement officers may also search any premises and forcibly seize any drugs, machinery, equipment, records, documents or computerized data if there is “reasonable cause. to suspect that an offense is being committed.

These include breaking and opening any door, gate or fence that obstructs entry to the premises and detaining anyone found on the premises until the search is complete.

Many of the changes proposed in the Poisons Amendment Bill 2022 are similar to existing provisions of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 which prohibits narcotics ranging from heroin to cocaine and marijuana – such as damages indemnification clauses, the admissibility of agent provocateur evidence, and the seizure and forfeiture of drugs.

However, the Dangerous Drugs Act does not state that an individual cannot sue the government, unlike the Poisons Amendment Bill which proposes a clause that protects authorized officers from civil suits or criminal charges for any act if it was done “in good faith and in the reasonable belief”.

The amendment bill was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on March 14 by the Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Noor Azmi Ghazali, for the first reading; the government is expected to try to pass the law at the next meeting scheduled for 12 days from July 18 to August 4.

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