The government has been urged to impose price control on pharmaceutical drugs as not to burden the people with excessive pricing said The Consumer Association of Penang (CAP).
Its president SM Mohamed Idris said CAP for years have been asking for price control but has fallen on deaf ears.
“Pharmaceutical drugs are an essential item that should be given a cheaper access to the people.
“It is about time pharmaceutical drug price control is implemented,” he said in a statement today
Mohd Idris echoed the statement made by the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Hamzah Zainuddin in a local daily yesterday highlighting that Malaysians have been paying excessive prices for pharmaceutical drugs due to an absence of government control.
Hamzah had said in a forum themed ‘Competition Law in the Pharmaceutical Sector’ in Kuala Lumpur yesterday that Malaysia has become a ‘high price island’ for pharmaceutical drugs.
The minister also spoke of the need to stop anti-competitive practices which were detrimental to consumer welfare.
Idris proposed that a National Drug Pricing Control System should be introduced which will maintain the prices of drugs in the public and private sector at a level that is reasonable, stable and affordable.
The effective use of an Essential Drugs List as well as the wide usage of more generic drugs as opposed to patent brands can also be encouraged and supported, he added.
“The absence of price control has led to the present situation where drug prices vary from place to place.
“Prices are set based on volume purchases putting small operators at a disadvantage.
“Consumers throughout the nation in rural and urban areas should be able to get the drugs they need at an affordable published price,” he pointed out.