Following the increase in health and medical fees in the UAE, more and more people are turning to pharmacists rather than consulting medical practitioners to avoid paying high consultation fees to doctors.


Asma Ali Zain

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Fri 2 Dec 2005, 3:22 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Nov 2023, 4:13 PM

"This is an illegal practice as pharmacists cannot prescribe drugs, even for minor ailments," said Dr R. Kumar.

According to the UAE laws, pharmacists can only dispense medicine and that too prescribed by a doctor. "Prescription medicines can only be sold in accordance with a prescription written by a UAE licensed doctor within the last six months. The prescription must state the doctor’s name and the UAE licence number and have the clinic stamp. It must have the patient’s name, the medicine name and dosage instructions must be clear," says the code of conduct for pharmacists as issued by the Ministry of Health.

"I know of a pharmacist who has more patients than a doctor. All this is because doctors charge high consultation fees and people can't afford it," says Mohammed Kareem. "Every time you have flu or fever and you go to a doctor, you end up paying a hefty sum," he says, adding that at least the pharmacists guide a patient besides giving drugs to treat the ailment.

"My pharmacist is like a friend to me and I trust his opinion. I know that pharmacists too acquire some medical education and are aware of the safety of drugs," says Khaled Kabariti.

Confirming that pharmacists were indeed becoming popular since consultation fee and cost of medical treatment was increased, Dr S Siddiqui, who disapproves the trend, said : "I know that several pharmacists are indeed prescribing drugs and even administering injections in some cases. This is a matter that should be taken seriously as this is illegal."

Dr Siddiqui said he had treated several cases which had actually turned worse because they went to pharmacists for treatment instead of heading to a doctor. "Though most cases concern mild flu and fever, sometimes they develop into chronic cases by the time the patient comes to me for treatment," he said, adding : "They tell me that they could not afford my fees, and hence they went to a pharmacist."

Dr Siddiqui is of the opinion that if patients realise that they are spending more money buying medicines that might be harming them eventually, they would consult a doctor straightaway.

More news from City Times