Fears that many will stop meds when prices shoot up

From Free Malaysia Today,

FMT Reporters
Dec 7, 2014, 12:46 PM

patient-safety_155003654PETALING JAYA: The future does not look rosy for Malaysians when it comes to healthcare despite Pharmaceutical Association of Malaysia (PhAMA) president Yew Wei Tarng telling The Star that medicines in Malaysia would still be cheaper than in neighbouring countries.

Even if that were true, Health Minister S Subramaniam has already sent out an early warning that medical care may increase by 1 per cent to 2 per cent despite 4,200 brands of essential medicine being GST-exempt.

Added to those reports is one by Malaysian Community Pharmacy Guild president Wong Sie Sing who has said hikes of between 10% and 40% could be closer to the truth.

With so much doom and gloom surrounding the implications of GST on the price of medicines and hence its affordability to the people, Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) president Nancy Ho has expressed her grave concerns that many patients will stop taking their medicines altogether should prices continue to climb.

She was quoted as saying, ”The rise in drug prices could be due to increased costs of raw materials, equipment, labour and transportation as well as the weak currency exchange, which impacts all sectors.

“GST will worsen the situation further as almost all newer medicines with better results and less side effects will be taxed 6%.”

However Health Ministry director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah has confirmed his ministry’s officials met with representatives of the Malaysian Community Pharmacy Guild to discuss standardising and benchmarking drug prices.

Now all we can do is wait till April 1, 2015 to find out how we will fare.