KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 8 — The government is considering introducing a two-tier pricing system for private hospitals, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said, amid double-digit medical inflation.
“We want to see a cheaper cost for our patients, maybe even suggesting a two-tier pricing system for private hospitals. That is something we need to have further engagements with the private health care industry,” he told Bernama.
“The two-tier pricing system may encompass all patients.”
Malaysia is the only country in Southeast Asia and the only other country in Asia Pacific (besides Pakistan) that is projected to experience double-digit medical inflation this year, hitting 13.6 per cent compared to 12.4 per cent in 2018. The 2019 projected medical inflation rate is almost 5.7 times that of the general inflation forecast of 2.4 per cent, according to Aon’s 2019 Global Medical Trend Rates Report.
The Finance Ministry is also considering implementing pool procurement of drugs purchased in both public and private health care.
“We are having discussions with all stakeholders, including the Health Ministry, on doing a pooled procurement of drugs so that when we buy in bulk, they can be purchased at a cheaper rate.
“Currently, the sourcing of the drugs is done separately. It is all a question of scale. When you buy in bulk, you can get cheaper rates,” he stated.
Even within the public health care system, the Ministry of Health (MOH) purchases medicines for its facilities separately from public university hospitals under the Education Ministry, with each university hospital having its own formulary.
MOH told Bernama that the nationwide procurement of medicines via pool-based procurement is currently being conducted on a pioneer basis for 85 drug items.
The tender for 14 of the items is expected to be finalised by the end of 2019.
“A report on the cost-saving will be submitted to the Ministry of Finance every six months after the contract is finalised,” said the ministry.
“Also, the state-level pool procurement can also be implemented for medicinal items that are not involved with central tenders and are off the Approved Products Purchase List (APPL) for the purpose to adjust prices, cost savings and simplifying the procurement process.”