Tap pharmacists to explain side effects

Leave the explanation of side effects to the pharmacists, and let the doctors focus on practising medicine.
Leave the explanation of side effects to the pharmacists, and let the doctors focus on practising medicine.PHOTO: ST FILE

The recent disquiet within the medical fraternity over doctors having to explain the side effects of medication or risk being censured (4,000 sign petition over SMC ruling; Jan 26) seems to overlook the role of pharmacists, who are a key part of the healthcare setting and whose expertise lies in knowledge of medication.

We should leverage Singapore's highly trained pharmacists by giving them a distinct role in dispensing drugs to patients that is separate from the medical consultation done by doctors.

Leave the explanation of side effects to the pharmacists, and let the doctors focus on practising medicine.

With clearly defined roles, doctors need not fear practising defensive medicine, and patients benefit from the pharmacists' value-added service.

Lee Yong Se

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2019, with the headline 'Tap pharmacists to explain side effects'. Print Edition | Subscribe