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The Malaysian Pharmacists Society has lodged a complaint with the Health Ministry over a move by the MySejahtera app to link all sales of Covid-19 self-testing kits to Pharma2U, an e-commerce portal.
The move is an abuse of MySejahtera's dominant position, it said.
The society said the move is also in violation of the Health Ministry guidelines that only allow licensed community pharmacy premises and healthcare facilities approved by the Medical Device Authority (MDA).
"We are utterly disappointed that this e_Commerce company was added to the MySejahtera app, as it clearly goes against Clause 3.2 and Clause 5.0(b) in Annex 4G of the Covid-19 Management Guidelines in Malaysia of the Health Ministry, dated July 20, in which only licensed community pharmacy premises or MDA-approved healthcare facilities are allowed to provide sales of Covid-19 self-testing kits.
"Furthermore, as Pharma2U is not a company under the control and management of a registered pharmacist, the use of the name 'Pharma' has clearly contravened Clause 13 in the Registration of Pharmacists Act 1951.
"No corporate body, unless it is registered under the stipulated clause and complies with the required elements within the Act, shall be using the term containing 'Pharma' to confuse members of the public," it said in a letter to the Health Ministry's Pharmaceutical Services Programme.
The letter was signed off by Malaysian Pharmacists Society president Amrahi Buang.
It also expressed outrage at the unfair advantage given to Pharma2U.
"We are also outraged with the unfair advantage given to Pharma2U, which we feel is an abuse of dominant position in the MySejahtera application as compared to valid community pharmacies which are operating in accordance with the stipulated laws and regulations, as well as providing Covid-19 self-testing kits to their customers with proper counselling and guidance," it said.
It added that to support the proper sale and provision of Covid-19 self-testing kits via authorised parties, the MySejahtera app should instead include maps to direct members of the public to their nearest community pharmacy.
"We highly hope that stern action will be taken to address all the aforementioned complaints with regard to the sales of Covid-19 self-testing kits via Pharma2U in the MySejahtera application," the letter states.
The society said direct selling of Covid-19 self-testing kits, without proper guidance and education from pharmacists, can lead to inaccurate results.
"This will also result in a higher probability of cross-contamination and under-reporting of test results via the MySejahtera application due to poor handling techniques.
"Non-proper disposals of test kits due to lack of guidance by pharmacists upon purchasing will also contribute to unwanted contamination to the environment, thereby exacerbating the risk of Covid-19 transmission in the public," it said.