PUTRAJAYA, April 3 — The Health Ministry hopes to impose price controls for medicine by this year, Dzulkefly Ahmad said.
The health minister, however, did not elaborate on what price control mechanisms would be used after he met with representatives from the pharmaceutical industry in a town hall meeting yesterday to discuss regulating medicine prices.
“This year, we hope to firm it up,” Dzulkefly told a press conference at the Health Ministry here yesterday after the town hall.
The minister said he met the Pharmaceutical Association of Malaysia (PhAMA), the Malaysian Organisation of Pharmaceutical Industries (MOPI), and the Malaysian Association of Pharmaceutical Suppliers (MAPS) at the town hall.
“Today’s meeting underscored the need to engage with them. We understand the industry’s perspective and the entire supply chain.
“The entire supply chain is bigger, including hospitals, clinics, and community pharmacies. We’ll meet those later,” Dzulkefly said yesterday.
All three pharmaceutical groups that Dzulkefly met at yesterday’s town hall told a pharmacy conference last month that they were against drug price controls, contending that it could inadvertently make medicines more expensive instead.
Dzulkefly reportedly told Parliament in November last year that price ceilings may be imposed to streamline drug prices.
The health minister from Amanah also said that the Rembau Hospital would be open by June, after Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional candidates in the Rantau by-election — Dr S. Streram and Mohamad Hasan respectively — reportedly traded barbs over it.
“It will be part of a hospital cluster. The anchor is Hospital Tuanku Ja’afar Seremban. Specialists will come regularly [to Rembau Hospital], fortnightly or monthly,” said Dzulkefly.
He added that the Rantau and Bandar Baru Sendayan government clinics in the state constituency of Negri Sembilan would be upgraded in 2020, as upgrades were already listed in the 11th Malaysia Plan.