Health Ministry Welcomes WHO Resolution Pushing Drug Pricing Transparency

Malaysia was one of the initial six co-sponsors of the resolution proposed by Italy at WHO’s assembly.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — The Health Ministry welcomed today a global resolution adopted by World Health Organization (WHO) countries to improve the transparency of medicine pricing.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said Malaysia — which was one of the initial six co-sponsors of the resolution proposed by Italy at WHO’s annual assembly — supported policies that ensured fairer drug pricing and reduced out-of-pocket payments.

“The Ministry believes that a sustainable fairer pricing system is needed for both health systems and pharmaceutical industries.

“This landmark agreement is a first step towards a more open dialogue about price transparency to improve access to medicines,” Dr Noor Hisham said in a statement.

He noted that the Health Ministry has implemented various measures to improve access to medicines, like pooled procurement between ministries, price negotiations, and research and development (R&D) through Clinical Research Malaysia’s partnership with R&D institutions like Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi).

“We will continue our efforts to improve universal access to medicines and affordable medicines, as one of the components in the National Medicines Policy, where the cost of drugs should not be a barrier for Malaysians to get quality health care.

“This is in line with our commitment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), in which people’s interest come first to ensure universal access of medicine to the Malaysian people,” Dr Noor Hisham said.

The 72nd World Health Assembly yesterday agreed to support a watered-down resolution that urged member states to publicly share information on actual prices paid by governments and other buyers for health products, besides calling for greater transparency of pharmaceutical patents, clinical trial results, and other pricing determinants along the value chain.

The resolution had stopped short of forcing pharmaceutical companies to disclose R&D costs.

The UK, Germany, and Hungary, however, disassociated themselves from the resolution.

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