Doctors should prescribe but not sell medicine

In an age of spiralling costs, I often wonder why Singapore is still keeping to the practice of letting doctors sell the medicine they prescribe.

It may have been practical in an earlier time, when retail pharmacies and qualified pharmacists were rare.

But today, many places offer pharmaceutical products. This is good, as it helps moderate the prices of vital medication, especially for budget-constrained citizens.

A check of my regular medical bills and those of my friends shows that as much as 80 per cent of the total billing comes from the sale of medications.

Our doctors should be earning their main income from consulting and treatment, not selling medicine. That should be left to pharmacists and pharmacies.

I ask the Health Ministry to consider regulations to that end.

Ravi Govindan