Challenges Faced by Malaysian Pharmacists

asian pharmacist giving assistance to client

The pharmacist serves as a bridge between patients and doctors, giving patients guidance on how to get the most out of their medications while minimizing any unwanted or harmful effects.

Moreover, they educate customers on their medication options according to the prescription provided by their doctor. Aside from filling prescriptions and labelling medication, they may also recommend over-the-counter medicines for minor health issues.

It is also possible that pharmacists advise customers on the proper dosage, frequency, duration, drug interactions, and side effects of their purchased medicines.


How Can One Become a Pharmacist in Malaysia?

One needs a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and work experience to enter this role.

A pharmacy degree in Malaysia is a Bachelor of Pharmacy from a university accredited by the Pharmacy Board under the Ministry of Health in Malaysia. This usually takes three to four years to finish.

After completion of the pharmacy degree in Malaysia, there are various areas of pharmacy practice. Let us look at some of them:

  • Academic Pharmacy
  • Community Pharmacy
  • Hospital Pharmacy
  • Industrial Pharmacy


asian female pharmacist gives indian elderly woman

But like many medical professionals, pharmacists across the healthcare spectrum today face a number of technical and resource challenges as they strive to provide the best and most efficient medication decisions and patient care.


Here are six key challenges that pharmacists face.

  1. Too many disparate resources, that are spread across various platforms. The pharmacist will have to search across various platforms, books, tools and other resources to find the exact drug that is needed.
  2. Increasing specialty medicines, calls for the pharmacist’s demand for the latest drug information as well as patient education materials.
  3. The constant demand for multitasking, with spending too much time finding the right and trustworthy drug information at the point of care, along with many responsibilities.
  4. Outdated information across databases. Pharmacists depend on the information being quickly available – includes the latest drug information, recent drug changes.
  5. Human and financial cost of medical errors. It is imperative for pharmacists to have access to efficient, accurate information to avoid errors and adverse patient outcomes.
  6. Awareness of specific patient population needs: A patient’s age, gender, and even history of substance abuse can play a key role when it comes to prescriptions.

    Pharmacists must understand how to negotiate nuanced interactions and provide supporting resources, such as advising a patient on the timing of doses

Every sector that involves pharmacists has its related challenges.


Community pharmacists face several challenges, including:

  • Inexperienced pharmacists starting a pharmacy
  • Aggressive price undercutting owing to the growing competition
  • Job hopping/staff pinching
  • Discriminate price differences between doctors and pharmacies
  • Excessive promotion/discounts by chain shops that affects the credibility of the individual pharmacies
  • Practice pharmaceutical care


consultation pharmacist druggist advising medicine


Challenges of private hospital pharmacists

  • Lack of recognition
  • Look at purchasers only
  • Pharmaceutical diagnosis
  • Lack of opportunity in training
  • Minimal contact with patients
  • Too much of paperwork
  • Some hospital pharmacies lack equipment like counting machines and relevant software
  • No specializations
  • Long working hours

Challenges of factory pharmacists

  • Lack of professional development training
  • Out of the mainstream professional activities
  • Lack of research opportunities
  • Lack of employment flexibility as there are very few manufacturing companies in Malaysia

Challenges of house pharmacists

  • Lack of exposure to retail pharmacy
  • Lack of exposure to the health supplements industry
  • Lack of exposure to government regulatory information
  • Low pay scales
  • Never involved into decision making


Particularly in low and middle income nations, access to professional pharmacy services provided by community pharmacists remains inadequate.

This stemmed from an underdeveloped health system and legislation that did not facilitate the proper development of pharmacy practice. As a result, the quality of even basic pharmacy services such as dispensing, and counselling is much poorer compared to developed nations.

Transgressions of pharmacy legislation, primarily dispensing by pharmacy assistants and without authorized prescriptions, are rampant. Lack of recognition from the government, peers in the medical field, and even customers is also common, as are workforce issues.

All these difficulties were similarly experienced by community pharmacists in Malaysia.

Numerous management challenges faced by community pharmacists that distract them from delivering professional pharmacy services have been highlighted.

Urgent affirmative actions by the government are warranted in supporting community pharmacists to realize and maximize their potential.


All in All

The challenges faced by pharmacists in Malaysia after they graduate with a pharmacy degree affect their enthusiasm for their profession and their abilities to provide professional services.

It is hopeful that the authorities concerned will increase their effort in preventing transgressions of pharmacy legislation.