PETALING JAYA, Oct 10 — A group of pharmaceutical companies called for 10 per cent of the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) 2020 operational budget to be allocated to medicines, up from the current 8 per cent.
The Pharmaceutical Association of Malaysia (Phama), which mostly represents multi-national drug makers, said Malaysia’s public health care budget for medicines has not significantly improved over the years.
“Aligning with guidelines from WHO (World Health Organization), I think 10 per cent would be a good number to start with,” Phama president Chin Keat Chyuan told CodeBlue in an exclusive interview here.
Chin said that would also be in line with Malaysia’s population growth, ageing trends, and the rising rate of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
Out of MOH’s RM29 billion budget for 2019, RM26.5 billion was allocated for operations, while RM2.2 billion went to development.
Chin also called for tax incentives for private pharmacies and clinics’ quit-smoking services.
“Currently, the government is spending close to RM750 per smoker in terms of helping them to quit smoking. If they can give some income tax relief, maybe RM1,500 tax relief, that will help to relieve some of the burden instead of channeling all the patients to government.”
Budget 2020 will be tabled this Friday. Patient groups have called for a bigger allocation for innovative cancer treatments and new earmarked funding for rare disorders.