Kuala Lumpur, 16 August 2018 – This morning’s news that the Ministry of Health is suspending the giving of free innovative drugs used to treat cancers and rare diseases which accompany the Patient Access Scheme (PASc) is viewed by concern by the Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy.
Commenting on this development, Chief Executive Azrul Mohd Khalib, said that “These PASc programmes provide expensive and new medicines mostly unavailable through the Malaysian public healthcare system. They play an important role in filling existing gaps which exist in the treatment and care pathway of these diseases. There are thousands of patients who are depending on these life-saving and life-extending medicines and who are potentially affected by this suspension. The need is great.”
“The fact is that Malaysia is classified as an upper middle income country. We are unable to qualify for the prices normally offered to lower income countries and we have not increased the funding allocation for such medicines. However, the opportunity provided through the PASc actually allows Malaysia to obtain these expensive and vital drugs at no-cost. Patients are able to get the drugs needed, have a chance at a better quality of life, and live.”
“We support the Ministry of Health’s efforts to build and ensure a clean civil service which is accountable, transparent and patient-centric. However, these free drugs are not and should not be equated to bonuses, gifts or paid holidays meant as incentives which run afoul with the ethics and integrity code of conduct.
“The Pakatan Harapan Manifesto made a pledge to increase allocations and incentives to encourage the private companies and welfare bodies in the treatment of rare diseases, especially among the needy and families with children with special needs. This suspension runs counter to that pledge and has real potential to harm to these communities. We call for the Ministry to reconsider this suspension.”
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