Health Ministry hoping to impose medicine price controls this year
April 02, 2019
PUTRAJAYA, April 2 — The Health Ministry today expressed plans to regulate drug prices by this year, but did not specify how exactly it would do so.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad held a closed-door town hall meeting with pharmaceutical stakeholders this afternoon, the first such engagement between the industry and the ministry.
“Yes,” Dzulkefly told a press conference here after the town hall, when asked if price control measures for medicines would be implemented this year.
“There are various mechanisms. We don’t want to rush into this.”
Dzulkefly reportedly told Parliament last November that his ministry was considering price ceilings to streamline drug prices and improve access to affordable medicines.
The minister told the press that he met representatives from the Pharmaceutical Association of Malaysia (PhAMA), the Malaysian Organisation of Pharmaceutical Industries (MOPI), and the Malaysian Association of Pharmaceutical Suppliers (MAPS) at today’s town hall to discuss drug procurement and price controls in medicine.
“It was a comprehensive discussion,” said Dzulkefly.
“We have decided to follow up, maybe create a focus group between the private sector and the Ministry of Health.”
He added that the ministry would also meet up with other stakeholders from the pharmaceutical supply chain, like hospitals, clinics, and community pharmacies.
“The general perception is that the pharmaceutical industry is profit-driven, but we heard a commitment to be with the government and to have public-private collaborations to enhance health care delivery [that is] quality, affordable, and accessible, for the B40 (bottom 40 per cent) especially,” said Dzulkefly.
He also said the pharmaceutical sector was strategic as companies invested hundreds of millions of ringgit in Malaysia, created high-paying jobs, and supplied medicines during disasters.
Cheaper rice once termination of monopoly policy fully enforced – Chong
June 10, 2018
Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen says consumers will enjoy cheaper rice once the termination of monopoly policy on importation of rice is completely enforced.
At a news conference here today, he said he had been in touch with the federal minister in charge of the matter.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Salahuddin Ayub recently announced that the monopoly to import rice by Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) has been terminated as per the Cabinet decision.
Pursuant to this, Salahuddin said a working paper on breaking up the monopoly with feedback from the ministry and other stakeholders would be drafted before being submitted to the government for further action.
Under the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government, Chong said Bernas Corporation monopolised the importation of rice, an act which had marked up the selling price of both fragrant and white rice.
Chong, who is Stampin MP and Kota Sentosa assemblyman, said Bernas Corporation registered some RM104 million of gross profit a year in Sarawak alone because of the monopoly policy while consumers had to fork out more for the daily need.
“Sarawakians are paying for the system that has been implemented by the previous BN government. We the consumers pay RM104 million a year for the monopoly system.
“By doing away with this monopoly system, consumers will enjoy cheaper rice,” he added.
With him at the press conference were Parti Amanah Negara Sarawak chairman Mohamad Fidzuan Zaidi and Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii.
Reduce the pressures causing burdensome price increases
May 10, 2018
Pakatan Harapan feels the pressures suffered by the people. We will take immediate steps to stabilise the prices of essential items and to control the factors that lead to price increases.
The Pakatan Harapan Government will ensure big companies cannot monopolise the market. The monopolies enjoyed by companies like BERNAS in rice production and distribution, ASTRO in broadcasting, and others, will be re-examined thoroughly. We will also ensure the prices of medicine are fair by enforcing fair competition.
The Pakatan Harapan Government will work proactively with suppliers to ensure that the supply of goods is always sufficient, especially during festivities. Adequate supply that matches demand will help prevent periodic or sudden price surges.
Incentives will be provided so that the supply of daily essential items are ensured and the pressure of price increases will be reduced.
The Pakatan Harapan Government will reduce excise duty on imported cars below 1600 cc for the first car. This will enable the purchase of a first car at a lower price. To avoid abuse, only one car will be allowed for every family with household income below RM8,000 per month.
The Pakatan Harapan Government will abolish highway tolls in stages.
Another factor that contributes to rising prices is the drop in our Ringgit value in the international market. The value of Ringgit has depreciated compared to almost all major world currencies, including Thailand Baht and Bangladeshi Taka! Malaysia imports more than 90 percent of our dairy products, 70 percent of meat, and 50 percent of vegetables. When Ringgit plummets, the prices of these items surge. The Pakatan Harapan Government will give the responsibility to Bank Negara Malaysia to devise a strategy to revive the Ringgit value within 3 years, in a more sustainable way.