KUALA LUMPUR, 14 March 2017 - Blackmores Institute, together with the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Taylor’s University, are coming together to support pharmacists to lead the national conversation on the use of complementary medicine (CM), providing appropriate guidance to both consumers and patients.
Through the development of a unique, evidence-based healthcare education programme, the collaboration aims to equip Malaysian pharmacists – current and future – with the knowledge and understanding surrounding CM and its beneficial uses alongside conventional medicines.
The use of complementary medicine (CM) such as herbal medicines, nutritional supplements, and vitamin and mineral supplements is on the rise worldwide to help prevent, treat, or manage illness. In Malaysia, research has shown that we are increasingly investing in over-the-counter (OTC) CMs such as health supplements[i] which, beyond addressing deficiencies, are widely considered to reduce the burden of disease, and enhance quality of life[ii].
“Increasingly, complementary medicine is being shown to work alongside conventional treatments to help individual manage complex health conditions and improve their quality of life.” said Dr Lesley Braun, Director of Blackmores Institute. “Therefore, it is vital that our healthcare professionals can provide the public with clear, evidence-based advice regarding the best way to use these combined methods to improve safety and enhance responsible use of integrative medicine.” The MoU signing between all four parties signifies the start of the learning journey which will instill pharmacists with the confidence to act as trusted consultants of integrative medicine for consumers across the country.
“Given their pharmacological expertise and distinct relationship with consumers, pharmacists are in a unique position to undertake this pivotal role,” said Amrahi Bin Buang, President of Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS). He added, “Even though many pharmacists have shown interest for additional CM learning, very few have been exposed to formal study on this subject. Therefore, this collaboration will provide pharmacists with quality resources and distinct learning opportunities that ultimately could help guide the Malaysian public to reach the best possible health outcomes.”
“The program will enhance pharmacists’ knowledge and their contribution to the society, which is in line with MPS’s 50th Anniversary theme: ‘My Society, My Passion’ - representing MPS, as well as the Malaysian community at large, which the pharmacists continues to serve passionately.” he further explained.
The program will be CPD accredited, allowing pharmacists to gain additional professional development points as they progress through the program. With the formalization of the partnerships, the modules are expected to be launched in mid-2017.
Leading educational institutions in Malaysia, UKM and Taylor’s University also provide the programme with distinctive but complementary insights and perspectives, which will help to unify the national understanding of CM and bring a holistic learning process for pharmaceutical students in both public and private universities.
Professor Dato’ Seri Dr. Noor Azlan Ghazali, Vice-chancellor of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia stated, “As part of the collaboration, students that are interested in CM will also be provided with the opportunity to further research in this field through the research grants and internships awarded by Blackmores Institute. The MoU signing marks the first step in educating pharmacists, both current and future, in the importance of integrative medicine, elevating their roles as trusted consultants to help guide the Malaysian public in their quest for better health.
“We understand that pharmacy students need to have CM as an integral part of their training,” said Professor Michael Driscoll, Vice Chancellor and President of Taylor’s University. “We are delighted to be involved as part of this distinguished initiative to help promote CM learning in the pharmacy faculty of all institutions and ensure all students receive empirical insights regarding the use of CM.”
About Blackmores Institute
Blackmores Institute is the academic and professional arm of Blackmores Limited, established to support and drive an evidence-based approach to natural medicine. The Institute’s focus is on research and education with a primary purpose to improve the quality use of natural medicine through the translation of the evidence-base into practical healthcare education, resources, and advisory services.
[i] Siti Z et al. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2009. 17(5-6): 292-299.
[ii] Braun L. Herbs and Natural Supplements: An Evidence-Based Guide. 4th edition. 2015. Sydney, Australia. Elsevier.