Saturday, July 01, 2006

Antibiotics, Paracetamol May Be Cheaper Soon

BUKIT MERTAJAM, June 30 (Bernama) -- Basic medicines such as antibiotics and paracetamol may become cheaper if the government endorses the new national policy on drugs soon.
The policy is being drafted by the Health Ministry and will be presented to the Cabinet for endorsement in August or early September.
According to Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek, the policy seeks to:
* control the price, quality and effectiveness of drugs available in the market.
* prevent the market from being flooded with imitation and fake drugs.
* ensure antibiotics, paracetamol and as well medicines for flu, hypertension and diabetes are easily available, safe, of high quality, effective, consistent with description and reasonably priced.
* ensure media advertisements on health products and medicines do not mislead the public.
Chua said the time was right to come up with the policy as medicines and health products in Malaysia are getting expensive for the people.
He said pharmaceutical companies seeking registration with the Health Ministry will be required to disclose the prices of medicines and health products they sell.
"We are also preparing a list of more than 1,000 basic medicines to be distributed to all hospitals and clinics in the country.
"Apart from that, we do not want government pharmacists to prescribe too many medicines for one sickness. We can save RM2 billion annually if we stop such a practice," he said.

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