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President’s Forum -

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"Key Issues for Comments"

The 40th SMA Council has assumed office. The direction and policy have been announced at the Association’s Annual Dinner on 1 May 1999.

Incoming Council and Committee Chairpersons

The incoming Council members and the Committee Chairpersons are listed on this page. With the exception of the three top office bearers, the rest of Council members are less than 50 years old. I can say therefore, we have a combination of wisdom of the older members and the energy of the younger members. The younger Council members will be asked to contribute their energies and ideas.

The new SMA News Editor is Dr Wong Tien Yin. He will be taking over the running of the SMA News from me. He will take the SMA News to greater heights.


A/Prof Cheong Pak Yean, in his Outgoing President’s Valedictory Address which is also printed in this issue of the News posed two questions, "Where are we now?" and "What have we achieved as a professional body?" There are a number of things achieved.

In particular, much has been done to improve the image and credibility of the medical profession in relation to the key stakeholders in the healthcare sector, namely, the Ministry of Health, the press and the public. My Council and I look forward to continue the good relationship that has been built up.

There are other areas where the previous Councils have spent energy and time. Continuity is needed. Examples are the Centre for Ethics and Professionalism, Casemix, Community Health Education, and the future premises for the SMA. The present Council have already included these in its strategic workplan.

It is not unexpected then that the three areas that the new Council will focus upon are empowerment, relationship and proaction. The details are given in my In-coming President’s Address at the SMA Dinner.

Some key issues for a start

The Membership and the SMA Council need to be in constant dialogue. One channel for this to occur is through the SMA News. You are invited to comment on key issues that will be raised in this President’s Forum.

"...much has been done to improve the image of the
medical profession in relation to the key stakeholders in the
healthcare sector, namely the Ministry of Health, the press and the public."

For the next three months, may I invite comments from the membership on the following:

* The idea of bulk purchase of expensive medicines for chronic medical conditions that are piggy-backed on the Ministry of Health’s tenders. This will hopefully bring down the costs of medicine to patients on these medicines. The Ministry of Health has asked the profession to explore the idea of bulk purchase of medicines that could perhaps be facilitated by the SMA.

* Nett pricing of medicines by pharmaceutical companies so that the retail pricing of medicines is more transparent. This has been suggested by SAPI. The SMA has also published a guideline for the pricing of medicines dispensed from in-clinic dispensaries.

* Doctors follow the consultation and medicines fee guidelines issued by the SMA. This will remove the unhappiness that some doctors have on colleagues who bid for contracts on the basis of low consultation fees and making the final fee up by charging a high price for medicines.