No criminalization of medical practice, says WMA

The World Medical Association has expressed its deep concern over a law being proposed by the Malaysian Government to imprison or fine physicians if they refuse to provide prescriptions being requested by patients.

The proposal by the Malaysian Minister of Health, Datuk Seri Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad, legislates for up to a year’s imprisonment for physicians who break the law.

Dr. Frank Ulrich Montgomery, Chair of the WMA Council, said: ‘The current medical code and laws of Malaysia are securing the options a patient has to receive medicines from the doctor directly or to get a prescription to be filled by a pharmacy. The system works and those who do not comply are being disciplined. This needs no criminalization.’

The WMA has also criticized a further proposal to introduce electronic prescribing, allowing physicians’ digital signatures to be accepted by pharmacists.

WMA President Dr. Miguel Jorge said: ‘The mere ability to sign electronic documents does not make the process of prescribing safe. It still requires proper examination and diagnosis. Just to have an app is not enough. It may even be dangerous.’

The World Medical Association has published guidance as well on m-health and on telehealth which can be found in the Policy section of the WMA