Law: concerns at increasing pharmacies and medical students returning to Tonga

Tongan authorities were concerned about the increasing number of new pharmacies and medical students returning from overseas while the government has no regulations to control them.

The kingdom wanted laws to make sure only qualified medical practitioners are serving the public.

The idea however took shape in Nukuʻalofa last week after the health authorities and representatives from the Ministry of Justice  met to review and made the final amendment to the Medical and Dental Practice Act 2001.

The 2001 Act only dealt witht staff’s performances, professionalism and protecting the public from malpractices.

Mr Tuʻakoi ‘Ahio, Principal Health Administrator and Registrar of the Medical Dental Practice Board, said: “There is no regulation at the moment and this workshop is trying to develop some regulations to determine whether the Pharmacies are equitable to operate”.

Tuakoi
Dr. Tu’akoi ‘Ahio, Registra of the Medical and Dental Practice Board with Ms. Marina Moa from the Crown Office during the workshp in Nukuʻalofa

“Due to many new pharmacies and students going to Cuba to study, the reviewing of this Act” was to make sure they meet certain requirements before allowing them to operate and work in Tonga.

ʻAhio said the new laws will protect medical officers, dentists and doctors.

“It has been a long journey from 2001 to today and it has new things and new people in each category and it also has new challenges…so there is a need to review this Act before we implement it to meet the current standards and so on,” Tuʻakoi said.

“What we are trying to achieve today is going through the final draft and the proposed regulations for this Act,” Tuʻakoi said.

The proposal to amend the law will go through the government normal procedure and was expected to be discussed in Parliament soon.

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