Health Ministry Resumes Patient Assistance Programme

The patient access scheme was suspended last August.

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 — The Health Ministry has resumed pharmaceutical companies’ patient assistance programmes that were initially suspended over concerns of ethical violations.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye told Malay Mail that the patient access scheme (PASc) was allowed to operate since the end of last year after the National Audit Department cleared the programme that provides expensive new drugs to patients for free.

He reportedly said the National Audit Department had asked the Health Ministry how it would audit the “bonusing” part of the PASc, where the pharmaceutical company throws in some free drugs when the government purchases medicines, like a buy 10 free two sale.

“So they raised this — how are we going to audit this? Anyway, we’ve gone through and they’re happy with our explanation,” Dr Lee was quoted saying.

Pharmaceutical companies can now obtain PASc proposal submission forms on the Health Ministry’s Pharmaceutical Services Programme website.

The PASc was suspended last August, triggering concern among potentially thousands of patients who were getting crucial but pricey medicines for serious conditions like cancer and rare diseases.

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