KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — A senior Ministry of Health (MOH) official today touted the Peka B40 health programme’s ability to negotiate cheaper prices of medical devices provided free to low-income Malaysians.
Dr Rozita Halina Hussein, senior deputy director at MOH’s planning division, said Peka B40 has managed to negotiate the same price for intraocular lenses in Sabah and Sarawak as in the peninsula, as these were much more expensive in East Malaysia.
Peka B40 has also managed to reduce the price of intraocular lenses in certain hospitals by almost 20 per cent because of high volumes, besides negotiating with six private lab chains on a package of composite tests.
“We were able to negotiate a very good price based on the volume of strategic purchaser,” Dr Rozita told the Monash Health Economics Forum 2019 here today jointly organised by the Monash School of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Services Division, MOH, and the Pharmaceutical Association of Malaysia (PhAMA).
“And more than that, we’re able to monitor quality, not just of the labs, we also monitor the quality of general practitioners (GPs) and we intervene when we see some lapses in quality,” she added.
Private GP groups have been complaining about the low payments offered by Peka B40, the amount of paperwork, and the lack of updates for family physicians on their patients who go on to be treated in public hospitals, instead of continuing treatment in the GP clinic after getting screened.
Peka B40 is an MOH programme that provides four benefits to the bottom 40 per cent (B40) of income earners aged 40 and above: free health screenings at participating private GP clinics, free medical devices or health aids (subject to an RM20,000 lifetime limit), an incentive to complete cancer treatment at MOH hospitals, and transport incentives to travel to MOH hospitals for treatment.
According to Dr Rozita, 160,002 people, or 20 per cent of the target 800,000 beneficiaries this year, have undergone their first health screening under Peka B40 as of November 15, while 2,471 health aid applications have been approved.
Dr Rozita also said the government estimated additional savings of RM13.5 million annually through pooled procurement of drugs between MOH, public university, and defence hospitals.
MOH was also looking at whether pooled procurement could be done in the private sector or on a regional basis.