The aims of the present study were to assess the control of glycemia and other cardiovascular disease risk factors, and the association between age and these controls among older adults with type 2 diabetes in Malaysia.
Aims: To explore how health care professionals (HCPs) assess patients when initiating insulintherapy in type 2 diabetes.
Methods: Focus group discussions and in-depth interviews were conducted with 41 healthcare professionals in Malaysia in 2010–2011. A semi-structured topic guide was used for theinterview. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using the Nvivo9 softwarebased on a thematic approach.
Results: HCPs were less likely to initiate insulin therapy in patients who were older, withirregular dietary patterns and poor financial status. They also assessed patients’ knowl-edge, views and misconceptions of insulin. However, there was a variation in how doctors assessed patients’ comorbidities before starting insulin therapy. Medical officers were more likely to initiate insulin therapy in patients with comorbidities and complications, whereas family medicine specialists were more cautious. In addition, most HCPs considered patients’ psychosocial status, including self-care ability, social support and quality of life.
Conclusions: HCPs’ assessment of patients’ need to start insulin therapy depends on their perception rather than objective evaluation of patients’ background, knowledge, perception and abilities. The background and the type of practice of HCPs influence their assessment.
BACKGROUND: Women of reproductive age are a group of particular concern as diabetes may affect their pregnancy outcome as well as long-term morbidity and mortality. This study aimed to compare the clinical profiles and glycemic control of reproductive and non-reproductive age women with type 2 diabetes (T2D) in primary care settings, and to determine the associated factors of poor glycemic control in the reproductive age group women.
METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study using cases reported by public primary care clinics to the Adult Diabetes Control and Management registry from 1st January to 31st December 2009. All Malaysian women aged 18 years old and above and diagnosed with T2D for at least 1 year were included in the analysis. The target for glycemic control (HbA1c < 6.5%) is in accordance to the recommended national guidelines. Both univariate and multivariate approaches of logistic regression were applied to determine whether reproductive age women have an association with poor glycemic control.
RESULTS: Data from a total of 30,427 women were analyzed and 21.8% (6,622) were of reproductive age. There were 12.5% of reproductive age women and 18.0% of non-reproductive age women that achieved glycemic control. Reproductive age group women were associated with poorer glycemic control (OR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.2-1.8). The risk factors associated with poor glycemic control in the reproductive age women were being of Malay and Indian race, longer duration of diabetes, patients on anti-diabetic agents, and those who had not achieved the target total cholesterol and triglycerides.
CONCLUSION: Women with T2D have poor glycemic control, but being of reproductive age was associated with even poorer control. Health care providers need to pay more attention to this group of patients especially for those with risk factors. More aggressive therapeutic strategies to improve their cardiometabolic control and pregnancy outcome are warranted.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Early diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in primary care settings is difficult to achieve chiefly due to lack of availability of spirometry. This study estimated the prevalence of airflow limitation among chronic smokers using a handheld spirometer in this setting.
METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study performed on consecutive patients who were ≥40 years old with ≥10 pack-years smoking history. Face-to-face interviews were carried out to obtain demographic data and relevant information. Handheld spirometry was performed according to a standard protocol using the COPd-6 device (Model 4000, Vitalograph, Ennis, Ireland) in addition to standard spirometry. Airflow limitation was defined as ratio of forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1 )/forced expiratory volume in 6 s <0.75 (COPd-6) or FEV1 /forced vital capacity <0.7. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to determine predictors of airflow limitation.
RESULTS: A total of 416 patients were recruited with mean age of 53 years old. The prevalence of airflow limitation was 10.6% (n = 44) with COPd-6 versus 6% as gauged using standard spirometry. Risk factors for airflow limitation were age >65 years (odds ratio (OR) 3.732 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.100-1.280), a history of 'bad health' (OR 2.524, 95% CI: 1.037-6.142) and low to normal body mass index (OR 2.914, 95% CI: 1.191-7.190).
CONCLUSIONS: In a primary care setting, handheld spirometry (COPd-6) found a prevalence of airflow limitation of ∼10% in smokers. Patients were older, not overweight and had an ill-defined history of health problems.
KEYWORDS: Malaysia; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; prevalence; primary care; smoke
Study site: Public primary health‐care clinic (Klinik Kesihatan), Sepang District, Selangor, Malaysia
BACKGROUND: Uncontrolled blood pressure (BP) is a significant contributor of morbidity and even mortality in type 2 diabetes (T2D) patients. This study was done to determine the significant determinants of uncontrolled blood pressure in T2D patients in Malaysia.
METHODS: Between 1st January 2009 to 31st December 2009, data from 70 889 patients with Type 2 diabetes was obtained from the Adult Diabetes Control and Management Registry for analysis; 303 centers participated in the study. Their demographic characteristics, the nature of their diabetes, their state of hypertension, treatment modalities, risk factors, and complications are described. Based on their most recent BP values, subjects were divided into controlled BP and uncontrolled BP and their clinical determinants compared. Independent determinants were identified using multivariate logistic regression.
RESULTS: The mean age of patients at diagnosis of diabetes was 52.3 +/- 11.1 years old. Most were women (59.0 %) and of Malay ethnicity (61.9 %). The mean duration of diabetes was 5.9 +/- 5.6 years. A total of 57.4 % were hypertensive. Of the 56 503 blood pressure (BP) measured, 13 280 (23.5 %) patients had BP <130/80 mmHg. Eighteen percent was on > two anti-hypertensive agents. Health clinics without doctor, older age (>/= 50 years old), shorter duration of diabetes (< 5 years), Malay, overweight were determinants for uncontrolled blood pressure (BP >/=130/80 mmHg). Patients who were on anti-hypertensive agent/s were 2.7 times more likely to have BP >/=130/80 mmHg. Type 2 diabetes patients who had ischaemic heart disease or nephropathy were about 20 % and 15 % more likely to have their blood pressure treated to target respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Major independent determinants of uncontrolled BP in our group of T2D patients were Malay ethnicity, older age, recent diagnosis of diabetes, overweight and follow-up at health clinics without a doctor and possibly the improper use of anti hypertensive agent. More effort, education and resources, especially in the primary health care centres are needed to improve hypertensive care among our patients with diabetes.
BACKGROUND: Nationwide surveys have shown that the prevalence of diabetes rates in Malaysia have almost doubled in the past ten years; yet diabetes control remains poor and insulin therapy is underutilized. This study aimed to explore healthcare professionals' views on barriers to starting insulin therapy in people with type 2 diabetes.
METHODS: Healthcare professionals consisting of general practitioners (n = 11), family medicine specialists (n = 10), medical officers (n = 8), government policy makers (n = 4), diabetes educators (n = 3) and endocrinologists (n = 2) were interviewed. A semi-structured topic guide was used to guide the interviews by trained facilitators. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using a thematic analysis approach.
RESULTS: Insulin initiation was found to be affected by patient, healthcare professional and system factors. Patients' barriers include culture-specific barriers such as the religious purity of insulin, preferred use of complementary medication and perceived lethality of insulin therapy. Healthcare professionals' barriers include negative attitudes towards insulin therapy and the 'legacy effect' of old insulin guidelines; whilst system barriers highlight the lack of resources, language and communication challenges.
CONCLUSIONS: Tackling the issue of insulin initiation should not only happen during clinical consultations. It requires health education to emphasise the progressive nature of diabetes and the eventuality of insulin therapy at early stage of the illness. Healthcare professionals should be trained how to initiate insulin and communicate effectively with patients from various cultural and religious backgrounds.
Study site: healthcare professionals who provided diabetes care in the three healthcare settings in Malaysia: the government health clinics (Klinik Kesihatan); government university-based primary care clinic and hospital; and private general practice (GP) clinics and hospitals
OBJECTIVES: To determine the health related quality of life and its predictive factors among older people with non-communicable diseases attending primary care clinics.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.
SETTING: Three public primary care clinics in a district in Selangor, Malaysia.
PARTICIPANTS: Registered patients aged 55 years and above.
MEASUREMENTS: A face-to-face interview was conducted using a validated questionnaire of Medical Outcome Study 36-item short form health survey (SF-36). The outcome measure was the health related quality of life (HRQoL) and other factors measured were socio demography, physical activity, social support (Duke-UNC Functional Social Support Questionnaire), and presence of non-communicable diseases.
RESULTS: A total of 347 participants had non-communicable diseases which included hypertension (41.8%), type 2 diabetes (33.7%), asthma (4.8%), hyperlipidaemia (1.7%), coronary heart disease (1.2%), and osteoarthritis (0.2%). Age ≥ 65 years old (OR =2.23; 95%CI=1.42, 3.50), single (OR=1.75; 95%CI=1.06,2.90), presence of co-morbid condition (OR=1.66; 95%CI=1.06, 2.61), and poorer social support (OR=2.11; 95%CI=1.27, 3.51; p=0.002) were significant predictors of poorer physical component of HRQoL . In predicting lower mental health component of HRQoL, the significant predictors were women (OR=2.28; 95%CI=1.44, 3.62), Indian ethnicity (OR=1.86; 95%CI=1.08, 3.21) and poorer social support (OR=2.71; 95%CI=1.63, 4.51). No interactions existed between these predictors.
CONCLUSION: Older people with non-communicable diseases were susceptible to lower health related quality of life. Increasing age, single, presence of co-morbid conditions, and poorer social support were predictors of lower physical health component of HRQoL. While the older women, Indian ethnicity and poorer social support reported lower mental health component of HRQoL.
Numerous studies with compelling evidence had shown a clear relationship between dyslipidaemia and cardiovascular (CV) events in patients with diabetes mellitus. This was an observational study based on secondary data from the online registry database Adult Diabetes Control and Management (ADCM) looking into the determinants of uncontrolled dyslipidaemia in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients. Independent predictors were identified using multivariate logistic regression. A total of 303 centres (289 health clinics, 14 hospitals) contributed a total of 70,889 patients (1972 or 2.8% patients were from hospital). About thirty eight percent were reported to have dyslipidaemia. There were 40.7% patients on lipid-lowering agents and of those above age 40 years old, only 38.1% of them were on a statin. Malay ethnicity and younger age groups (<50 years old) were two major determinants of uncontrolled LDL-C, TG and HDL-C. Female gender and uncontrolled blood pressure were determinants of uncontrolled LDL-C, and poor glycaemic control was related independently to high TG. This study has highlighted the suboptimal management of diabetic dyslipidaemia in Malaysia. Pharmacological treatment of dyslipidaemia could be more effective. Healthcare stakeholders in this country, especially in the primary care, have to recognize these shortfalls and take immediate remedial measures.
BACKGROUND: Antibiotics are widely prescribed especially for upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs). Their irrational use can increase costs and resistance.
AIM: Assess knowledge, attitude and prescribing of antibiotics for URTIs in Selangor, Malaysia, using a cross-sectional survey among general practitioners (GPs) working in private clinics in 2011.
RESULTS: One hundred and thirty-nine physicians completed the questionnaire (response rate = 34.8%). 49.6% (n = 69) agreed antibiotics are helpful in treating URTIs, with most GPs agreeing antibiotics may reduce URTI duration and complications. The majority of GPs reported they felt patients expected antibiotics, with 36.7% (n = 51) agreeing patients would change doctors if they did not prescribe antibiotics and 21.6% (n = 30) agreeing when requested they prescribe antibiotics even if they believe them to be unnecessary. When assessed against six criteria, most GPs had a moderate level of knowledge of prescribing for URTIs. However, antibiotic prescriptions could be appreciably reduced.
CONCLUSION: Further programs are needed to educate GPs and patients about antibiotics building on current initiatives.
KEYWORDS: Malaysia; antibiotics; education programs; irrational use of medicines; patients; physicians; respiratory tract infections
BACKGROUND: Antibiotic overuse is driving the emergence of antibiotic resistance worldwide. Good data on prescribing behaviours of healthcare providers are needed to support antimicrobial stewardship initiatives. This study examined the differences in antibiotic prescribing rates of public and private primary care clinics in Malaysia.
METHODS: We used data from the National Medical Care Survey (NMCS), a nationwide cluster sample of Malaysian public and private primary care clinics in 2014. NMCS contained demographic, diagnoses and prescribing from 129 public clinics and 416 private clinics. We identified all encounters who were prescribed antibiotic and analyse the prescribing rate, types of antibiotics, and diagnoses that resulted in antibiotic.
RESULTS: Five thousand eight hundred ten encounters were prescribed antibiotics; antibiotic prescribing rate was 21.1 % (public clinics 6.8 %, private clinics 30.8 %). Antibiotic prescribing was higher in private clinics where they contributed almost 87 % of antibiotics prescribed in primary care. Upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) was the most frequent diagnosis in patients receiving antibiotic therapy and accounted for 49.2 % of prescriptions. Of the patients diagnosed with URTI, 46.2 % received antibiotic treatment (public 16.8 %, private 57.7 %). Penicillins, cephalosporins and macrolides were the most commonly prescribed antibiotics and accounted for 30.7, 23.6 and 16.0 % of all antibiotics, respectively. More recently available broad-spectrum antibiotics such as azithromycin and quinolones were more frequently prescribed in private clinics.
CONCLUSIONS: Antibiotic prescribing rates are high in both public and private primary care settings in Malaysia, especially in the latter. This study provides evidence of excessive and inappropriate antibiotic prescribing for self-limiting conditions. These data highlights the needs for more concerted interventions targeting both prescribers and public. Improvement strategies should focus on reducing inappropriate prescribing.
As the population ages, the prevalence of hypertension also increases. Although primary care is usually the patient's first point of contact for healthcare, little is known about the management of hypertension among elderly patients at the primary care level. This study aimed to determine the antihypertensive prescription trend for elderly patients, the predictors of antihypertensive use and any inappropriate prescribing practices in both public and private primary care settings.
BACKGROUND: The Pooled Cohort Risk Equation was introduced by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Heart Association (AHA) 2013 in their Blood Cholesterol Guideline to estimate the 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk. However, absence of Asian ethnicity in the contemporary cohorts and limited studies to examine the use of the risk score limit the applicability of the equation in an Asian population. This study examines the validity of the pooled cohort risk score in a primary care setting and compares the cardiovascular risk using both the pooled cohort risk score and the Framingham General Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) risk score.
METHODS: This is a 10-year retrospective cohort study of randomly selected patients aged 40-79 years. Baseline demographic data, co-morbidities and cardiovascular (CV) risk parameters were captured from patient records in 1998. Pooled cohort risk score and Framingham General CVD risk score for each patient were computed. All ASCVD events (nonfatal myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease (CHD) death, fatal and nonfatal stroke) occurring from 1998-2007 were recorded.
RESULTS: A total of 922 patients were studied. In 1998, mean age was 57.5 ± 8.8 years with 66.7% female. There were 47% diabetic patients and 59.9% patients receiving anti-hypertensive treatment. More than 98% of patients with pooled cohort risk score ≥7.5% had FRS >10%. A total of 45 CVD events occurred, 22 (7.2%) in males and 23 (3.7%) in females. The median pooled cohort risk score for the population was 10.1 (IQR 4.7-20.6) while the actual ASCVD events that occurred was 4.9% (45/922). Our study showed moderate discrimination with AUC of 0.63. There was good calibration with Hosmer-Lemeshow test χ2 = 12.6, P = 0.12.
CONCLUSIONS: The pooled cohort risk score appears to overestimate CV risk but this apparent over-prediction could be a result of treatment. In the absence of a validated score in an untreated population, the pooled cohort risk score appears to be appropriate for use in a primary care setting.
OBJECTIVE: To explore factors influencing poor glycaemic control in people with type 2 diabetes using insulin.
RESEARCH DESIGN: A qualitative method comprising in-depth individual interviews. A semistructured interview guide was used. The interviews were audiorecorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using a thematic approach.
PARTICIPANTS: Seventeen people with type 2 diabetes using insulin with glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) ≥9% for >1 year.
SETTING: The Primary Care Clinic and Diabetes Clinic in the University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), Malaysia.
RESULTS: Data analysis uncovered four themes: lifestyle challenges in adhering to medical recommendations; psychosocial and emotional hurdles; treatment-related factors; lack of knowledge about and self-efficacy in diabetes self-care.
CONCLUSIONS: Factors that explain the poor glycaemic control in people with type 2 diabetes using insulin were identified. Healthcare providers could use these findings to address patients' concerns during consultations and help to improve glycaemic control.
Study site: Primary Care Clinic and Diabetes Clinic, University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
BACKGROUND: Initiation of statin therapy as primary prevention particularly in those with mildly elevated cardiovascular disease risk factors is still being debated. The 2013 ACC/AHA blood cholesterol guideline recommends initiation of statin by estimating the 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk using the new pooled cohort risk score. This paper examines the use of the pooled cohort risk score and compares it to actual use of statins in daily clinical practice in a primary care setting.
METHODS: We examined the use of statins in a randomly selected sample of patients in a primary care clinic. The demographic data and cardiovascular risk parameters were captured from patient records in 1998. The pooled cohort risk score was calculated based on the parameters in 1998. The use of statins in 1998 and 2007, a 10-year interval, was recorded.
RESULTS: A total of 847 patients were entered into the analysis. Mean age of the patients was 57.2 ± 8.4 years and 33.1% were male. The use of statins in 1998 was only 10.2% (n = 86) as compared to 67.5% (n = 572) in 2007. For patients with LDL 70-189 mg/dl and estimated 10-year ASCVD risk ≥7.5% (n = 190), 60% (n = 114) of patients were on statin therapy by 2007. There were 124 patients in whom statin therapy was not recommended according to ACC/AHA guideline but were actually receiving statin therapy.
CONCLUSIONS: An extra 40% of patients need to be treated with statin if the 2013 ACC/AHA blood cholesterol guideline is used. However the absolute number of patients who needed to be treated based on the ACC/AHA guideline is lower than the number of patients actually receiving it in a daily clinical practice. The pooled cohort risk score does not increase the absolute number of patients who are actually treated with statins. However these findings and the use of the pooled cohort risk score need to be validated further.
Study site: Primary care clinic, University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate Malaysian patients' satisfaction levels and asthma control with Symbicort SMART® in the primary care setting.
METHOD: This is a cross-sectional, multicentre study involving adult patients with persistent asthma who were prescribed only Symbicort SMART in the preceding one month prior to recruitment. Patients' satisfaction with Symbicort SMART and asthma control were evaluated using the self-administered Satisfaction with Asthma Treatment Questionnaire (SATQ) and the Asthma Control Test (ACT).
RESULTS: Asthma was controlled (ACT score >20) in 189 (83%) of 228 patients. The mean overall SATQ score for patients with controlled asthma was 5.65 indicating a high satisfaction level, which was positively correlated with high ACT scores. There were differences in asthma control based on ethnicity, number of unscheduled visits and treatment compliance.
CONCLUSIONS: Symbicort SMART resulted in a high satisfaction level and asthma control among Malaysian patients treated in the primary care setting and it is an effective and appealing treatment for asthmatic patients.
Study site: General practice clinics, Malaysia
Patients with resistant hypertension are subjected to a higher risk of getting stroke, myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure and renal failure. However, the exact prevalence of resistant hypertension in treated hypertensive patients in Malaysia is not known. This paper examines the prevalence and determinants of resistant hypertension in a sample of hypertensive patients.
Study site: Primary care clinic, Universiti Malaya Medical Centre
BACKGROUND: Despite the worldwide circulation of human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43) and HKU1 (HCoV-HKU1), data on their molecular epidemiology and evolutionary dynamics in the tropical Southeast Asia region is lacking.
METHODS: The study aimed to investigate the genetic diversity, temporal distribution, population history and clinical symptoms of betacoronavirus infections in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia between 2012 and 2013. A total of 2,060 adults presented with acute respiratory symptoms were screened for the presence of betacoronaviruses using multiplex PCR. The spike glycoprotein, nucleocapsid and 1a genes were sequenced for phylogenetic reconstruction and Bayesian coalescent inference.
RESULTS: A total of 48/2060 (2.4 %) specimens were tested positive for HCoV-OC43 (1.3 %) and HCoV-HKU1 (1.1 %). Both HCoV-OC43 and HCoV-HKU1 were co-circulating throughout the year, with the lowest detection rates reported in the October-January period. Phylogenetic analysis of the spike gene showed that the majority of HCoV-OC43 isolates were grouped into two previously undefined genotypes, provisionally assigned as novel lineage 1 and novel lineage 2. Sign of natural recombination was observed in these potentially novel lineages. Location mapping showed that the novel lineage 1 is currently circulating in Malaysia, Thailand, Japan and China, while novel lineage 2 can be found in Malaysia and China. Molecular dating showed the origin of HCoV-OC43 around late 1950s, before it diverged into genotypes A (1960s), B (1990s), and other genotypes (2000s). Phylogenetic analysis revealed that 27.3 % of the HCoV-HKU1 strains belong to genotype A while 72.7 % belongs to genotype B. The tree root of HCoV-HKU1 was similar to that of HCoV-OC43, with the tMRCA of genotypes A and B estimated around the 1990s and 2000s, respectively. Correlation of HCoV-OC43 and HCoV-HKU1 with the severity of respiratory symptoms was not observed.
CONCLUSIONS: The present study reported the molecular complexity and evolutionary dynamics of human betacoronaviruses among adults with acute respiratory symptoms in a tropical country. Two novel HCoV-OC43 genetic lineages were identified, warranting further investigation on their genotypic and phenotypic characteristics.
Study site: Primary Care Clinic, University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Background: This study utilized a validated combination of a COPD Population Screener
(COPD-PS) questionnaire and a handheld spirometric device as a screening tool for patients at high risk of COPD, such as smokers. The study aimed to investigate and pilot the feasibility and application of this combined assessment, which we termed the “VitalQPlus”, as a screening tool for the early detection of COPD, especially in primary care settings.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study screening potentially undiagnosed COPD patients using a validated five-item COPD-PS questionnaire together with a handheld spirometric device. Patients were recruited from selected Malaysian government primary care health centers.
Results: Of the total of 83 final participants, only 24.1% (20/83) were recruited from Perak and Penang (peninsular Malaysia) compared to 75.9% (63/83) from Sabah (Borneo region). Our dual assessment approach identified 8.4% of the surveyed patients as having potentially undiagnosed COPD. When only the Vitalograph COPD-6 screening tool was used, 15.8% of patients were detected with a forced expiratory volume in 1 second/forced expiratory volume in 6 seconds (FEV1/FEV6) ratio at <0.75, while 35.9% of patients were detected with the COPD-PS questionnaire. These findings suggested that this dual assessment approach has a greater chance of identifying potentially undiagnosed COPD patients compared to the Vitalograph COPD-6 or COPD-PS questionnaire when used alone. Our findings show that patients with more symptoms (scores of >=5) yielded twice the percentage of outcomes of FEV1/FEV6 <0.75 compared to patients with fewer COPD symptoms (scores <5).
Conclusion: With the availability of a simple screening questionnaire and the COPD-6, there is an opportunity easily to make patients more aware of their lung symptoms and to encourage the provision of early treatment. The proposed dual assessment approach, which we termed the VitalQPlus, may play a profound role in the early diagnosis of COPD, which is crucial in improving the clinical management of the disease.
Keywords: spirometry, pulmonary function test, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,
OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to evaluate the general practitioners' (GPs') knowledge and perceptions towards generic medicines in a northern state of Malaysia.
METHOD: A postal cross-sectional survey involving registered GPs in Penang, Malaysia was undertaken. A 23-item questionnaire was developed, validated and administered on the GPs. Eighty-seven GPs responded to the survey (response rate 26.8%).
RESULTS: The majority of the respondents (85.1%) claimed that they actively prescribed generic medicines in their practice. On the other hand, only 4.6% of the respondents correctly identified the Malaysia's National Pharmaceutical Control Bureau's bioequivalence standard for generic products. There were misconceptions among the respondents about the concepts of "bioequivalence", "efficacy", "safety", and "manufacturing standards" of generic medicines. GPs in this survey believed that a standard guideline on brand substitution process, collaboration with pharmacists, patient education and information on safety and efficacy of generic medicines were necessary to ensure quality use of generics. Furthermore, advertisements and product bonuses offered by pharmaceutical companies, patient's socio-economic factors as well as credibility of manufacturers were factors reported to influence their choice of medicine.
CONCLUSION: Although it appeared that GPs have largely accepted the use of generic medicines, they still have concerns regarding the reliability and quality of such products. GPs need to be educated and reassured about generic products approval system in Malaysia concerning bioequivalence, quality, and safety. The current findings have important implications in establishing generic medicines policy in Malaysia.
Despite being an emergent major public health problem, little research has been done on domestic violence from the perspectives of early detection and prevention. Thus, this cross-sectional study was conducted to identify domestic violence among female adult patients attending health centers at the primary care level and to determine the relationship between social correlates of adult patients and domestic violence screening and subsequent help/health-seeking behavior if abused. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 710 female adult patients from 8 health centers in Selangor who matched the inclusion criteria and consented to participate in the study, using a structured questionnaire that included adaptation of a validated 8-item Women Abuse Screening Tool (WAST). Statistical tests showed significant differences in ethnicity, income, and education between those screened positive and those screened negative for domestic violence. Of the participants, 92.4% reported that during consultations, doctors had never asked them whether they were abused by their husband/partner. Yet, 67.3% said they would voluntarily tell the doctor if they were abused by their husband/partner. The findings indicate that primary care has an important role in identifying domestic violence by applying the WAST screening tool, or an appropriate adaptation, with women patients during routine visits to the various health centers. Such assessment for abuse could be secondary prevention for the abused women, but more important, it will serve as primary prevention for nonabused women. This approach not only will complement the existing 1-stop crisis center policy by the Ministry of Health that copes with crisis intervention but also will spearhead efforts toward prevention of domestic violence in Malaysia.