KUALA LUMPUR, August 16 — The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KDPNHEP) said it will provide feedback on regulating medicine prices after the Ministry of Health (MOH) sets the price control mechanism.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail told CodeBlue that he had a discussion with Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad on Wednesday about the contentious issue that has alarmed industry stakeholders like doctors, pharmacists, hospitals, and local generics manufacturers.
“MOH is currently finalising the drug price control mechanism and is preparing a list of controlled medicines,” Saifuddin said.
“KPDNHEP will wait until the price control mechanism is finalised before giving feedback.”
CodeBlue reported last month that the Health Ministry, in its online public consultation on the Malaysia Productivity Corporation’s portal, pledged to prosecute drug wholesalers and private clinics, pharmacies, or hospitals with a criminal offence if they sold prescription medicines that exceeded gazetted price ceilings.
Under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011, which is under KPDNHEP’s jurisdiction, profiteering, and selling and buying goods outside the regulated price is punishable with a maximum RM500,000 fine for companies, and for individuals, a maximum RM100,000 fine and three years’ jail.
MOH will use external reference pricing to determine maximum wholesale prices for medicines in Malaysia by benchmarking the prices of drugs sold in other countries, but the ministry has not stated which countries would be referenced, or how price mark-ups for retailers (private clinics, pharmacies, and hospitals) would be calculated.
Pharmacists’ group Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society said it was told that the wholesale price ceiling would be made the retail price floor for medicines.