Published: Tuesday January 8, 2013 MYT 3:57:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday January 8, 2013 MYT 3:59:26 PM
Health Ministry refutes allegation that it will stop free supply of medicines
KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has refuted the Opposition's allegation that it will stop the free supply of medicines in all government hospitals and clinics.
Deputy Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin said the National Medicines Policy had stipulated that medicines of good quality that were safe, effective and affordable should be supplied equally to improve the quality of health of the people.
"Last year alone, the Government's expenditure to provide free supply of medicines to the people reached almost RM1.8bil and the people will continue to enjoy that at all government hospitals and clinics," she said in a statement here Tuesday.
The Opposition's news portal had, on Jan 2, quoted Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Consumerism Bureau chief Yahya Sahri as saying that the public would not be able to get free supply of medicines at government hospitals and clinics as new policy would be implemented by the ministry soon.
He alleged that the Government had spent RM1.2bil to provide free medicines for the people and the cost had been rising by 10% annually, and hence, need to stop the free supply.
Rosnah said there was no doubt the cost was rising, but this was due to the increase in the number of non-contagious disease (NCD) cases such as diabetes, cardio-vascular, respiratory and cancer.
"Innovations have also increased the use of new medicines, which are more costly," she said.
Nevertheless, she said the Government would continue to ensure that all the people would get equal access to quality health service.
No changes will be made to the policy without taking into account the opinions of the relevant quarters, she said.
Rosnah also said the Opposition's allegation showed they were willing to say anything to influence the people, in view of the coming general election. - Bernama