Naccol Meeting Backs Drug Pricing Transparency With Price Displays: PM

PM Anwar says today’s Naccol meeting decided on drug pricing transparency through a price display mechanism to improve access to medicine supply with more competitive pricing, so that people know the prices of drugs and can make a choice.

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 – The National Action Council on Cost of Living’s (Naccol) meeting today agreed to drug pricing transparency with price displays for the public, Anwar Ibrahim said today.

According to the prime minister, the meeting agreed for the matter to be further perused by the relevant ministry before finalisation.

“The unity government is attentive to the public’s interest on access to medicine supply with more competitive pricing so that people know the prices that need to be paid and their ability to make a choice,” Anwar said in a statement.

“It is the unity government’s priority to ensure that the drug sale mechanism is more transparent for the people’s benefit through a price display mechanism.”

The Pharmaceutical Association of Malaysia (PhAMA) previously told the Ministry of Health (MOH) in 2019 that pharmaceutical manufacturers were willing to declare wholesale drug prices to the MOH to avoid medicine price controls.

A cost-benefit analysis by the Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) – based on a public consultation session with private industry groups in 2021 – showed that capping drug prices could erase RM206 billion in economic value from the private health care sector over 15 years.

MPC’s assessment also estimated that for every RM1 saved from proposed drug price controls, about RM4.30 is lost to Malaysia, besides decreased health care access and poorer health outcomes for Malaysians.

Malaysia also risks losing access to innovative drugs with price controls. Drug price controls were further projected to benefit the rich the most, and the poor the least, as an increase in private health care usage would mainly come from the top 20 per cent and the middle 40 per cent of income earners.

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