Patients to get educated on medication safety

SINGAPORE - The patient is the most important person in the medication use process and it is crucial they are educated on medication safety, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said on Saturday.

Speaking at the 24th Singapore Pharmacy Congress at Shangri-La Hotel, Mr Gan said patients and consumers "should be informed and involved in their health matters, and the treatment and medications they are receiving".

The two-day congress gathered pharmacists and other healthcare professionals to discuss medication safety and quality care.

At the opening of the congress, Mr Gan launched Pharmacy Week 2014, which aims to educate patients and consumers on using medication safely and appropriately. Over the week, participating hospitals and community pharmacies will conduct free medication reviews.

But medication use is a "continuum from drug development to prescribing, dispensing and administration," said Mr Gan.

The Health Ministry and healthcare practitioners have to play their part in ensuring that medication is used safely too, the Health Minister added.

The Ministry of Health had in 2010 set up a medication safety committee to promote medication safety awareness, standardise safe medication practices, and develop strategies to enhance medication delivery systems.

The committee has also published a national medication safety manual last year, organised two forums to share and discuss best practices among healthcare institutions, and conducted a consumer insight survey to understand the level of medication safety awareness among patients and consumers.

The results were then used to develop a set of recommendations for patient education, said Mr Gan.

leepearl@sph.com.sg