Ministry mulls new law that discloses prices of medicines

KUALA LUMPUR: Drug firms and medicine suppliers will have to disclose the prices of their products in the near future under a proposed amendment to the law.

Health Ministry (Pharmaceutical Services Division) senior director Dr Salmah Bahri said the move would allow patients access to the retail prices of medicine contained in its database.

“At present, there is already a database of some 23,000 drugs and medicines.

“However, it is more towards providing consumer information on a voluntary basis by the companies and suppliers,” she said in an interview with The Star.

She was speaking after addressing participants at the Improving Health Innovation and Access to Medicines Seminar here on Friday.

The Sales of Drugs Act, said Dr Salmah, would be amended to make it compulsory for companies and suppliers to register the retail prices of their products with the database.

“There is no legal compulsion to register their products with the database at the moment.

“That is why we need to have the law to compel them to do so or face punishment,” she said.

The creation of a price list database of medicines would also provide greater transparency in the industry, said Dr Salmah.

Earlier, during her address, she said the ministry was in talks with stakeholders to find a solution to provide better access to drugs for the treatment of some 500,000 Malaysians with Hepatitis C.

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