Selangor Journal
Photo for illustration purposes only. — Picture via iSTOCK

Health Ministry facilities to sontinue to subsidise medicines — Lukanisman

KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 — Subsidised medicines for patients receiving treatment at all Health Ministry (MOH) facilities are still maintained, so that the people are not burdened with any increase in medicine costs, said Deputy Health Minister, Datuk Lukanisman Awang Sauni.

He said that, in order to reduce the burden on patients seeking treatment at private facilities, the MOH has prepared a price guide for consumers, to help the public obtain information on prices of medicines through https://www.pharmacy.gov.my.

“MOH has studied the medicine price transparency initiative, which requires private health facilities to display prices of medicines, as announced by the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) on October 3, last year.

“This step can increase the people’s access to more competitively priced medicine supplies, and enable the people to know the price of the medicine they have to pay for, and then make a choice according to their respective abilities,” he said, during a question and answer session in the Dewan Rakyat today.

He said this in his reply to a question from Tampin  MP Datuk Mohd Isam Mohd Isa (BN-), who wanted to know the response of the MOH regarding the predicted increase in the price of medicines and pharmaceutical products, by around five to 10 per cent, which will put financial pressure on patients and their relatives, especially those suffering from chronic diseases.

Lukanisman also said that prices of medicines in the market are affected by various economic factors, such as foreign currency exchange rates, research and development costs and manufacturing problems, which are beyond the control of the MOH.

However, he said to help the government reduce the cost of medicine procurement, the MOH has implemented several measures, including the method of procurement of medicines, with a three-year contract which is seen to bring great benefits to the government.

“This measure is able to save the government’s cost to get a more stable offer price, as well as to ensure that there will be no price increase within three years.

“In addition, the MOH will avoid recurring costs for procurement purposes, such as tender advertising costs, more effective contract monitoring and avoiding interruption of service supply in the event of a new tender process,” he said.

Regarding the ministry’s plan to stabilise or reduce the price of medicines for treatments such as depression, leukaemia and cancer, Lukanisman said that these medicines are still distributed free of charge to the MOH’s patients even though the price of medicine is controlled by the supplier or producer of the medicine.

— Bernama

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