The Malaysian Health Ministry is taking steps to cap the prices of essential medicines in an attempt to make them more affordable to citizens. However the problem is that these medicines might cure only 30 to 50 per cent of patients.
"We are concerned over the high price of essential medicines and it is time for us to have some form of control over pricing," the health minister said, adding that a draft proposal was in the works and would soon be presented to the cabinet.
Dug prices in Malaysia have hit a record high and consumers are finding it difficult to gain access. In fact drug prices are over and above the international reference pricing, a guide on how much medicines should cost in each country.
Some of the drugs whose prices will be capped include "antibiotics, aspirin and other painkillers, as well as medicines for high blood pressure, diabetes and depression." A recent study by Netherlands-based non-governmental organization, Health Action International, carried out for WHO found that medicines in Malaysia are too costly and too scarce.
The study found that the profits for doctors exceeded those of pharmacists. Therefore the need of the hour is to frame the National Medicine Policy as soon as possible.