Many willing to pay 'price of convenience' in Malaysia to skip pharmacies

Many willing to pay 'price of convenience' in Malaysia to skip pharmacies
File photo of medicine.

PETALING JAYA - For the sake of convenience, many patients would rather pay more to get their medicine immediately from their doctor than go to pharmacies which usually charge less.

Housewife Selina Pheng, 38, said she did not mind paying the "price of convenience". She was recently charged RM20 (S$7.55)for cough syrup at a clinic although the price is only RM15 at a pharmacy.

She prefers the "one-stop" system here to the practice in the United States where her family used to live.

"In the US, it's very inconve­nient. After seeing the doctor, you have to go to a pharmacy for me­dication," she said.

Pheng said doctors' consultation fees here are much lower than in the United States but medication is cheaper there.

"Here consultation is cheap but doctors tend to prescribe a lot of medication because that's probably how they earn more."

A 40-year-old manager who only wanted to be known as Tan agreed.

"Doctors here usually prescribe many types of medication, even for the common flu. There are different drugs for morning and night, additional medication for sore throat and phlegm, Vitamin C and antibiotics that cost between RM45 and RM60 per visit," said the mother-of-two who now gets annual flu jabs instead.

New mother Rodziah Hassan, 32, said she paid RM90 to see a doctor for her son's cough.

"I found out the medicine only costs RM27 at the pharmacy. But I didn't mind because I just wanted him to get well. Plus, it's more convenient to get the medicine from the clinic rather than carry a crying toddler around town looking for a pharmacy," she said.

Kathy Arokiasami, 26, said she paid RM10 for an antiseptic cream at a clinic but later discovered that a pharmacy was selling it for half the price.

Despite the experience, the bank teller still chose to get her drugs from the clinic because "doctors are certified".

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