KUALA LUMPUR: The government aims to roll out the first tender to start acquiring its first drug through a central pool procurement system in October, an effort that will help bring down the cost of medicines, says Dr Lee Boon Chye (pic).
The Deputy Health Minister said more than 80 types of medicine have been identified for purchase through the system, which combines several buyers into a single entity.
The Health Ministry will partner with the Education Ministry (university hospitals) and the Defence Ministry in the bulk purchase of medicines, he said.
"We are still in discussion with the two ministries. We will also need to get approval from the Finance Ministry.
"If everything go smoothly, we will kick off the first drug tender in October," he said at a press conference after the "Equitable and Timely Access to Safe, Effective and Affordable Cancer Medicines in Malaysia – What is needed?" forum on Monday (Feb 25).
Pharmaceutical Service Programme senior director Dr Ramli Zainal said they had to look at which tender had expired before they can procure the drugs and see how they could get better prices.
Dr Lee declined to give further details.
World Cancer Day was commemorated on Feb 4 and it was noted that many Malaysians still lack access to affordable treatment.