KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry spends more than RM2bil to treat over two million patients a year.
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya (pic) said the ministry is gradually relying more on generic drugs in a move to reduce the amount spent on medical costs.
“At present, the ratio of medicine dispensed is 60% generic drugs and 40% innovator brands.
“Last year, the ministry spent RM2.2bil on medicine while RM1.9bil was spent on medicine as of October this year,” he said when answering a question by Ahmad Baihaki Atiqullah (PAS-Kubang Kerian) in Parliament Wednesday.
He added that 30% of generic drugs were sourced locally while 70% were imported.
“To ensure that the generic drugs are of quality, a bio-equivalent test is done to determine if their content are the same as those of the original drugs,” he said.
Dr Hilmi denied suggestions by Ahmad Baihaki that there was a shortage of medicine at government-run hospitals.
He said the ministry had recently introduced new guidelines to control the dispensing of medicine to prevent wastage.
He cited an example where previously, a chronic disease patient would be given six month’s worth of medicine after each check up but came back for more after three months.
“They will say their medicine had already gone bad or that they had left it at their village home when they balik kampung for holidays,” he said.
Dr Hilmi also denied that the ministry was facing budget cuts, saying that RM2bil was allocated under Budget 2017.