A review of dispensing in South Africa.
Cassimjee, Mohammed Hoosen.
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The dispensing Medical Practitioner has become topical since 13B4 . Dn this issue, much confusion and ignorance prevails, both amongst members of the medical and allied professions and in the public mind. This study was undertaken to demonstrate some aspects of dispensing of medicines in South Africa and to cansider the implications arising out of the application of legislation governing such dispensing of medicines by family practi tioners. The main objectives of this study were: CaD To identify and ascertain the opinions and policies of all those who are involved and concerned with the dispensing of medicines. Cb) To determine the implications of all the legislation governing the dispensing of medicines on: 1. patient care 2. the dispensing of medicines by doctors Cto their patients}. Information was gathered from a questionnaire sent to service/ consumer groups; from literature review of journals; publications and gazettes; and from legal consultations. The results of the study indicated that: C13 Professional Associations such as, Medical Association of South Africa, the Pharmaceutical Society as well as statutory bodies such as the South African Medical and Dental Council and the Pharmacy Council are concerned with issues such as 'trading in medicine ' and 'profiteering '. Inadequate patient care resulting from the physical, financial and economic hardships suffered by a majority of patients are issues which appear not to have been addressed by these bodies. CE) The fundamental issues of "what is in the best interest of the patient " appears to be ignored in legislation pertaining to dispensing. C33 Dispensing to patients became difficult due to the impractical stringent restrictions imposed by the legislation governing dispensing of medicines. C4D The dispensing of medicines by a doctor is less timB consuming, more convenient and cheaper for the patient as well as for the Sick Benefit Funds. The results were discussed with respect to their theoretical and practical implications and the conclusion reached was that the dispensing legislation presently designed for first world communities, became totally impractical when applied to third world communities, and that most doctors dispense medicines in response to the needs of the individual communities they service. Further research possibilities and recommendations were suggested in order to gain a greater understanding of the dispensing issue, which hopefully will assist to improve the quality of health care and also ensure the best possible advantage for the patient.