Kuala Lumpur, 14 June 2018 – Commenting on the ongoing controversy surrounding public sector pharmaceutical procurement, Azrul Mohd Khalib, Chief Executive of the Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy, said, “This recent revelation once again highlights the complex processes involved in the many steps, actors, agencies, manufacturers and authorities of this critical component of Malaysia’s healthcare system. It also reminds us of the enormity, need and urgency of the health reforms to be proposed and undertaken.”
“With the health burden and challenges posed by the increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases, an ageing population and complexity of health needs, we cannot afford a trust deficit in our national public healthcare system.”
“The taskforce to address these concerns, whose formation was recently announced by the Minister, must look into what concrete measures need to be undertaken to introduce reforms which increase the level of fairness, transparency and integrity in the procurement process,” emphasised Azrul.
“The taskforce in their future deliberations, should consider establishing the office of health procurement ombudsman. This will be an independent public official whose mandate is to review the practices of the Ministry of Health for procuring materiel and services to assess their fairness, openness and transparency and make any appropriate recommendations for the improvement of those practices.”
“The ombudsman will investigate and address procurement related complains against officials and practices to ensure that there is no abuse of power, corruption or maladministration. Reports will be tabled in Parliament and made public.”
“The fact that health is a major expenditure worth multi-billions of ringgit each year, makes this layer of scrutiny necessary. The appointment of an independent ombudsman has the potential to regain, strengthen and sustain the confidence of Malaysians in the public procurement system.”
“We must give the Minister of Health Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad, the time, space and support for him and his team at the Ministry of Health to form the taskforce, to conduct a systematic review and implement whatever measures necessary in the best interest and well-being of Malaysian healthcare.”
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