Free meds for people with cancer and rare disorders not halted by PASc review

KUALA LUMPUR: People receiving treatment for  cancer or rare disorders already covered by the Patient Access Scheme (PASc) will not have their access to free medication halted, says the Health Minister.

Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the existing 16 programmes by pharmaceutical companies supplying medicines to hospitals under the PASc will continue without disruption.

“Patients should not be worried that they need to buy their medication, because the status quo remains. The ministry review is only to improve the system," he assured.

"At this time, the ministry does not have a say because the system is directly between the pharmaceutical companies and the hospitals involved,” he told a press conference in Parliament on Thursday (Aug 16).

The PASc, which supplies medication to patients of cancer and rare diseases to hospitals for free, is currently being reviewed as the ministry’s Pharmacy Practice and Development Division is seeking the National Audit Department’s views on civil servants accepting free packs of drugs upon procurement of medication.

Dr Dzulkefly said two new applications had been received from pharmaceutical companies to supply free medication under the scheme, but stressed that they would be processed accordingly.

“A guideline must be in place for the scheme, which outlines the application, processing, control and monitoring processes.

“A committee should be set up which includes the relevant departments under the ministry, to evaluate and decide on applications in a more transparent process.

“Ultimately patient care is the most important thing; and especially for critical care, there should be no delays,” he said.

On another matter, Dr Dzulkefly said the ministry was working with Bank Negara Malaysia and the Finance Ministry to draw up a comprehensive health package to address the needs of the B40 groups.

“A committee has been set up, involving officials from the Health Ministry’s pharmacy, finance, procurement, and medical practice divisions, as well as health specialists, Finance Ministry and Bank Negara officials, to draw up the framework.

“We aim to have this done by the end of September so we can propose for it to be included in Budget 2019,” he said.

Dr Dzulkefly also said the committee was looking into roping in Socso and takaful companies to help offer similar schemes to rationalise healthcare insurance and avoid overlaps.


Across The Star Online