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Health Ministry to meet stakeholders over drug price disclosure

KLANG: The Health Ministry will hold a meeting with the National Pharmaceutical Control Bureau and pharmaceutical industry players to discuss the implementation of price-listing medicines before the proposal is tabled in Parliament.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the prices of medicines, which varied in different hospitals and places, needed to be standardised in order for them to be disclosed.

“We want patients to have access to medicines at reasonable cost and it should be standardised,” he said after opening a new school block of SJK(T) Ladang Highlands in Bukit Tinggi here yesterday.

Dr Subramaniam was commenting on the front page report on Sunday Star that the Government was proposing to compel pharmaceutical companies to declare the prices of drugs to the Health Ministry.

The move is still at an early stage, but is in line with the ministry’s plan to compel drug price disclosure under a proposed amendment to the Sale of Drugs Act.

Noting that the meeting would be held soon, Dr Subramaniam said the ministry’s concern was to en­­sure affordable medicines for Malay­­sians.

“Although it is a suggestion, we are going to sit down, address the issue and work out a mechanism to do this. The ministry, the bureau and industry players will discuss the implications of the implementation to make sure it is done in a way that is acceptable.

“At the end of the day, it is very important that those who will benefit from this are the patients,” he added.

Asked when the proposal would be brought to Parliament, Dr Subramaniam said this would happen only when all those concerned reached a common understanding.