Home » Health » Medication tracking system a month before its imposition: Why do pharmacists fear it?

Medication tracking system a month before its imposition: Why do pharmacists fear it?

Medicine support in Lebanon has entered its final days, after the end of the money allocated for support, which the Ministry of Health obtained from Special Drawing Rights (SDR) funds, is approaching. We will then enter into a new crisis, especially with regard to chronic disease medicines, which are still subsidized, and which the Minister of Health is seeking. Firas Al-Abyad to keep it that way despite the difficulty of succeeding in this goal, due to the lack of the necessary funds in the public treasury.

After the absence of the role of the drug centers in the Ministry of Health, which were the destination for those seeking medications for chronic diseases, and the emergence of the role of the Medical Committee in the Ministry of Health, which studies the applications submitted to it and refers those accepted to pharmacies to obtain subsidized medicine, the Ministry of Health returned to study – according to informed sources in the Ministry. – The idea of ​​purchasing medicines and distributing them through centers. But to implement this idea and others, it is necessary to know the need of the Lebanese market on the one hand, and to ensure traceability of the medicine, to fight all types of waste and corruption in this sector. Hence the move to adopt the drug tracking system, which – according to Al-Modon’s information – is a basic request of the World Health Organization.

A binding decision, and the remaining deadline is one month
Last August, the Minister of Public Health, Firas Al-Abyad, issued a decision bearing the number 988/1, regarding the necessity of implementing the relevant ministerial decisions related to the drug tracking system, declaring the necessity of implementing all government decisions related to this system, while granting a grace period to health and hospital institutions, drug warehouses, and pharmacies. , until December 31 of this year, to take the required measures to implement the drug tracking program, and to approve it in the complete distribution of medicine, starting from the first day of the new year.

According to the Ministry’s sources, this system is a prerequisite for the Ministry’s success in overcoming the upcoming drug crisis, and it is not only related to this crisis, but rather it is the first and most powerful weapon in confronting “corruption” in the pharmaceutical sector. However, in Lebanon they are trying to politicize every project, sectarianize it, enter it into the game of conspiracies, and make it Part of the conflict, but in reality it all comes down to preventing any attempt to implement any reform anywhere.

The head of the Pharmacists Syndicate warns
When the decision enters into force at the beginning of the new year, and in the event that there are health and hospital institutions, warehouses, and pharmacies that are struggling or refraining from implementing the program, the Ministry of Health will ask drug import companies to suspend the delivery of medicines to these institutions, and refer them to the Pharmaceutical Inspection Department. This is what the head of the Pharmacists Syndicate, Joe Salloum, sees as “contrary to the law and the constitution” and will lead to preventing medicine from patients.

Salloum does not stand against the adoption of a drug tracking system in absolute terms, but he warns against imposing its implementation without fulfilling the basic conditions for the success of this project. Salloum said in an interview with Al-Modon: “The tracking system for subsidized cancer medicines is very positive, provided that there is sufficient human resources in the Ministry of Health, and the necessary mechanism to ensure the implementation of the project, and the availability of medicines. Then the project will be positive, as for tracking non-subsidized medicines with.” The smuggled and counterfeit medicine sector is in chaos, and with the spread of illegal pharmacies such as Al-Murtada and others, the spread of medicine shops, and the sale of medicines through social networking sites, then this system will be a fatal blow to the legitimate pharmacies and the legitimate medicine sector.

According to Salloum, the pharmacies that suffered financially during the period of support and lack of availability of medicine do not have the financial capacity to enter into the project in terms of equipment, maintenance costs, or 24/24 internet availability, especially in border and remote areas. However, Ministry of Health sources respond to this point by stressing that the Ministry is ready, in cooperation with international donor institutions, to provide logistical and technical support to help health and pharmaceutical institutions use and implement the tracking program.

Confidentiality of patient information and standardized prescription
According to Salloum, there is an additional danger that should be warned about. If the tracking system is adopted, what will be the fate of patient information that will become accessible to specific people or entities, internal or external, and who will guarantee that it will not be leaked or sold to pharmaceutical companies, for example. Salloum points out another problem that may come after adopting this system, which is the “unified recipe.” If it is approved, what will be the fate of patients who are unable to visit a doctor?

2023-12-02 08:08:30

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