The Inconvenience of the Separation of Clinics and Pharmacies

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The Inconvenience of the Separation of Clinics and Pharmacies

Just as it was forecast, it is turning out to be the inconvenience to patients that will be the main obsticle to the successful implementation of the proposed system which would separate the medical practices of doctors and pharmacies. This was demonstrated in a recent mock test of the proposed system. In the test, one patient, elderly and suffering from arthritis, had to go through an arduous three step process; first he had to get his prescription from a public health center, then walk hundreds of meters to get to the pharmacy to purchase the medicine, and finally walk back to the public health center to receive his injection of the medicine.

Some of the personnel from the government who participated in some of the tests, which were watched by the press and citizen's organizations, brought the medicine they needed from the hospital which provided the prescription, instead of ordering it at the outside pharmacy. This was done to shorten the time needed to fulfill the prescription because the whole process would have taken too long. Their trickery was eventually spotted by the press, stirring up some trouble.

In addition, the big pharmacies that have automatic packaging machines only performed a limited number of mock tests. They found that the whole procedure, including registration and the filling out of the prescription, took 15 minutes per person. Concerns were raised over the anticipation that for pharmacies that do not carry these machines could take 30 minutes or more for customers to recieve their prescriptions. The government says that the planned separation is to lessen waste and misuse of medicines by making it more inconvenient for patients to get the medicine and so these kinds of discomfort are inevitable.

When we consider the government’s purpose for the planned separation, the government's view is quite acceptable. However, as shown in the mock tests where the government attempts to hide side affects, they wish to force citizens to accept the new plan primarily through emphasizing the plans need and this cannot be considered proper. Unless the unnecessary discomfort is reduced, citizens will protest the move and the separation plan will not be carried out inline with the original purpose.

The government needs to work to lessening the effects of this move by creating a system where a person’s regular pharmacy can quickly and easily fill a person‘s usual prescription, along with setting up a sufficient number of distribution centers. They should also create a system where hospitals inform nearby pharmacies of a patient’s frequently used medicines.

A campaign to reform the way people think, with the belief that an injections in needed to get better, should also commence. Most of the current problems in the separation plan come from people‘s preference to receive injections when they are ill. This inappropriate medical practice of giving injects regardless of the ailment should definitely be altered. It should be the duty of doctors to persuade patients with minor illnesses not to receive unnecessary injections. As enforcement of the separation plan starts in 15 days, repairing whatever needs fixing as soon as possible is necessary for the sake of smooth implementation and acceptance.


by Kang Hong-jun

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