Activities & Background


Bi-Regional Working Group Meeting

on Hospital Pharmaceutical & Therapeutic Committee and Drug Information Service

13 - 15 October 1999, Penang, Malaysia


Selamat Datang / Welcome

More than two hundred years ago, Sir Francis Light raised the British flag on a newly-acquired island and named it "Prince of Wales Island". At that time, the island consisted of a thousand or so Malay fishermen, and a great deal of jungle. Today, the more aptly-named Penang Island or Pulau Pinang in Bahasa Malaysia - the national language, is a thriving port, a commercial and tourist centre which together with its industrial counterpart of Butterworth on the mainland, is home for over one million Malaysians.

Light industry is the mainstay of the economy of Penang and the island is fast developing into the "Silicon Valley" of the East. The Head of State in Penang is called a Governor and as in the other states of Malaysia, Government administration is run by a Chief Minister and his corp of executive councillors.

Penang's capital Georgetown, is steeped in history and yet is a modern city with all the facilities and amenities for an exciting and memorable holiday. The island is linked to Province Wellesley or Seberang Perai by the 15.5 kilometer Penang Bridge and a 24-hour ferry service. A well-developed network of road and rail connects Butterworth in Province Wellesley to other parts of Peninsular Malaysia. Penang also has direct international airlinks with Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Medan, Tokyo and Osaka.

Getting around the island is quite easy. Buses are convenient and cheap and taxis fast and comfortable. Visitors an also enjoy the novelty of a leisurely ride in a trishaw.

Touring Penang is a pleasant and memorable experience as there are many interesting places to visit. These may be broadly classified into the following categories; the modern structures; the old buildings (which have architectural and historical significance, and are preserved as historic landmarks); the clan houses and places of worship; the parks and hills; and the beaches. Some of these include the Penang Hill, Snake Temple, Kek Lok Si Temple, The Khoo Kongsi, Kapitan Kling Mosque, Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Fort Cornwallis and King Edward Circus Clock Tower, St George's Church, Penang Museum and Art Gallery, Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Botanical Gardens, Butterfly Farm.

One of the delights of a visit to Penang is the wonderful variety of food. Prices fluactuate according to the quality of the establishment, which could be a hawker's stall on a street corner, or an international class restaurant. Whatever the choice, it is sure to be an enjoyable gastronomic experience.

Penang is renowned as a shoppers' paradise. Shopping facilities ranging from modern complexes to road side shops and the Pasar Malam (travelling night market) offer an almost endless range of products. Goods and merchandise for sale include imported items, local products and local handicrafts.

It was a pleasure having you as our guest. We hope you will bring home pleasant memories of your stay in Penang.

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Regional Director

Western Pacific Regional Office


At the opening of WPRO and SEARO Bi-Regional Working Group Meeting on Hospital Pharmaceutical and Therapeutic Committee (PTC) and Drug Information Service (DIS)

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of Dr. Shigeru Omi, Regional Director for the Western Pacific, I would like to welcome you all to this WPRO-SEARO Bi-regional Working Group Meeting on Hospital Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee (PTC) and Drug Information Centre (DIC). I would also like to take the opportunity to express WHO's appreciation to the Universiti Sains Malaysia, especially to National Poison Centre which is also WHO Collaborating Centre on Drug Information for hosting this important meeting.
Economically inefficient and medically ineffective use of drugs, commonly known as irrational or inappropriate drug use, has become a serious health care problem especially in developing countries. This practice, involving either health care providers, consumers, or both, jeopardizes the quality of medical care provided to patients. At the same time, it is draining the already limited resources for health. A substantial proportion of funds often end up being wasted on purchasing of doubtful pharmaceutical products. This problem has various underlying causes which may derive from the health care system, from the health care providers or from the community at large. It has been widely accepted that effective measures to promote rational drug use should be identified and incorporated into health care services systems. To be effective and sustainable these measures should take into account the relevant underlying factors and the existing health care system.

WHO has long appreciated the need to tackle these problems, and always encourages Member States to implement effective measures to improve rational drug use, among others, through their National Drug Policy and Essential Drugs Programme. Treatment guidelines, training materials, drug information materials, supervision and monitoring tools, and other relevant measures to support rational drug use have been developed and implemented in many countries. WHO has also been involved in collaborative activities with various research institutions to develop and field test effective strategies to improve the rational use of drugs, and has provided technical support to countries in implementing these strategies.

Looking at the experiences in developing countries so far, you will agree that most of the success in improving rational drug use has been in public primary health care facilities. One reason is that efforts to promote rational use of drugs, such as training, supervision or use of guidelines, are more consistently implemented as part of an Essential Drugs Programme. On the other hand, effective strategies to improve rational drug use in hospital facilities, private facilities and the community at large are still lacking, as are successful examples in these areas.

I note that the objective of this workshop is to share current information and experiences from experts in the Western Pacific and South-east Asia regions in implementing the functions at Hospital Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committees (PTC) and Drug Information Centre (DIC). I hope that after the workshop, based on these experiences, recommendations on effective strategies for PTCs and DICs in improving rational drug use in hospitals, can be made. This is a very important undertaking since prescribing practices in hospital will have a significant influence on practices outside the hospital. I also hope that after this workshop you will be able to define an appropriate model for Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee and Drug Information Services which we can recommend for implementation.

During this workshop you will identify areas for collaborative activities, initiate a working group, identify networking mechanism, and draw up an action plan. This is certainly an important task. However, let me remind you that the ultimate goal is not only to create a networking mechanism but to improve the rational use of drugs in hospitals. Ultimately, whatever you plan for your future action, it should bring about significant impact on drug use.

Finally, I greatly appreciate and emphasize the importance of effective collaboration between WHO and the Collaborating Centre, as what has been performed by the National Poison Centre, our Collaborating Centre for Drug Information.

I wish you all a productive workshop and enjoy your stay in this beautiful environment.

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Bi-Regional Working Group

on Hospital Pharmaceutical & Therapeutic Committee and Drug Information Service


In most hospitals, especially in developing countries, poor implementation or lack of system and guidelines in dealing with pharmaceuticals is common. Poor co-ordination and inefficient management of various aspects of drug usage and exchange of information can lead to drug use problems such as poor treatment outcome and increase in cost-care.

The Pharmaceutical Therapeutics Committee (PTC) can co-ordinate and in some cases, supervise hospital activities relating to pharmaceuticals. Drug Information Service (DIS) has been playing an important role by providing drug information that helps to promote cost-effective drug use. Each of this committee play different roles, however co-ordinated efforts can increase the impact of strategies being used to improve drug use in hospitals.

There are only few hospitals in the developing countries with efficiently functioning PTC and DIS. It is believed that establishing well functioning structures will be beneficial in addressing problems that result in waste of resources and in providing optimum quality of patient care.

Hospital management and health staff should be encouraged and assisted to organise Pharmaceutical Therapeutics Committee (PTC) that will implement collaborative drug management strategy. Drug Information Service (DIS) should also be established to provide access to drug information. This meeting is therefore viewed as a first step in WPRO and SEARO to share hospital experiences and expertise in these areas.


  1. To encourage hospitals to organise a functioning PTC that will promote rational and cost-effective drug use and establish a functioning DIS that will facilitate exchange of drug information.

  2. Share current information and experiences on the roles and functions of PTC and DIS and to identify appropriate implementation strategies.

  3. Present various models of PTC and DIS shared experiences among institutions to know which works, and does not work.

  4. Identify areas for collaborative activities, initiate a working committee, identify networking mechanisms and to draw an action plan for the PTC and DIS working group in WPRO and SEARO.

  5. Review the WHO-PTC document and to suggest improvements.

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12 October `99

18:00 - 19:30 Registration at Hotel Lobby
Contact person: Lucy
20:00 - 20:30 Welcoming by Dr. Budiono Santoso and Dr. Kin Shein
Background and overview of the meeting by Dr. Edelisa D. Carandang
20:30 Opening and Dinner by The Honourable Dato' Professor Ishak Tambi Kechik,
the Vice-Chancellor, Universiti Sains Malaysia
Venue: Hotel Poolside Terrace
( Programme Day 1 , 2 , 3 .)


13 October `99
Day 1
Session I: Rational Drug Use: PTC and DIS in Focus
Chairperson: Edelisa D. Carandang
Time Title Presenter
08:00 Problems in RDU: Strategies and the need for structure and system Richard Laing
08:20 Why is PTC important? Richard Laing
08:40 PTC in Australia: Impact in hospital drug use, networking and exchange of information Lynn Weekes
09:00 Provincial, district & hospital PTC in South Africa: Can the managers, pharmacists and prescribers agree? Wilbert Bannenberg
09:20 Basic concepts of DIS Dzulkifli A. Razak
09:40 Roles and Functions of DIS Dzulkifli A. Razak
10:00 Discussion of Session I
10:30 TEA/Group Photography


Session II: Experiences of Hospitals PTC and DIS
Chairperson: Budiono Santoso
Time Title Presenter
11:00 Hospital Experience (Malaysia PTC) Wong Kok Tong
11:15 Hospital Experience (Malaysia DIS) Zubaidah Che Embi
11:30 Hospital Experience
12:00 Hospital Experience
12:15 Discussion of Session II
13:00 LUNCH


Session III : PTC and DIS roles, functions and strategies:
Recommendations from the working group.
Chairperson :Wilbert Bannenberg
Time Title Presenter
14:00 Report on drug utilisation studies and PTC Cyrus Kumana
14:15 How DIS can support drug utilisation studies Rahmat Awang
14:30 South Africa PTC data presentation Marita Van Rooyen
14:45 Dynamics for Work Group A - Roles, functions and strategies Wilbert Bannenberg
14:50 Working Group A. Participant and Facilitators
Pharmaceutical therapeutics committee (3 groups)*
  • Functions and roles (priorities, functions that may be controversial such as quantification, which activities are advisory and which are co-ordination in nature, what work and does not, strategies for education); Committee organisation; budget issues to fund activities of PTC (where to get, how to convince the management, problems)
Richard Laing
  • STG, EDL and hospital formulary (formulation, implementation, problems)
Budiono Santoso
Lynn Weekes
Drug Information Service ( 1 group)*
  • Minimum resources for DIS: personnel, physical and technical aspects of DIS
Rahmat Awang
16:00 Running Tea Break
19:30 Presentation of Group Work
* Note:
  1. Reading materials will be identified for each group. Facilitators will prepare and give a short talk/lecture on their topics depending on what they want to achieve and the key concepts and principles that the participants will need as input.
  2. Work group output: potential problems, strategies for development and implementation, the working principles and concepts that can be recommended and adopted.
  3. If there is not enough time to finish the first day session despite the overtime work, reporting of work group A can be done after the field visit.

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14 October `99
Day 2
Session IV: Field Work
Chairperson: Lynn Weekes
Time Title Presenter
08:00 Dynamics for Work Group B - Field visit Dzulkifli Abdul Razak
08:15 To Penang Hospital - Meet at Hotel Lobby
  • Review records such as membership, minutes of meetings, plan of action; accomplishments and issues addressed by the committee
Ruhaiyem Yahaya
  • Monitoring activities - testing some pre-selected hospital indicators
11:30 Leave for Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)
12:00 Lunch at USM - DTSP Reception Room
13:00 Hands on/ Discussion on resources at USM Computer Cente Mohamed Isa Abdul Majid
Evidence based resources Rahmat Awang
15:30 Back to hotel/Round the island
20:15 Presentation of group work on the report of field visit
For the field visit, the same group (Work group A) can work on the similar to get field experience and to see how the group output can work or how they can be implemented.

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15 October `99
Day 3
Session V: WHO guidelines for pharmaceutical therapeutics committee/DIS INDICES
Chairperson: Richard Laing
Time Title Presenter
08:30 Dynamics for Work Group C - Guidelines
  • Review of PTC Guidelines
Daisy Carandang
  • Review of DIS Guidelines
Dzulkifli Abdul Razak
08:40 Group work C (3 groups for PTC and 1 group for DIS)
10:45 Tea
11:00 Presentation of Comments - Work Group C
12:00 Lunch


Session VI : Collaboration, Network, Action Plans
Time  Title Presenter
13:00 Dynamics for Work Group D - Area of collaboration, networking   strategy and plan of action for PTC and DIC/INDICES Kin Shein
13:10 Group Work - D
Target output can be the following:
  • Connection to PTC and DIS Website
  • A working committee on PTC on the Website
  • Networking within SEARO and WPRO with efficient ways of contact and communication.
14:30 Presentation of reports - Working Group D Participants
15:15 High Tea

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  • FIJI
  • LAOS
  • U.S.A.

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