Bring in MACC, medical body says on supply monopoly expose

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has called on the authorities to investigate allegations made in the expose of a monopoly on the supply of drugs to the government.

Speaking to FMT, the association’s president Dr Ravindran R Naidu said he had heard rumours of the matter in the past.

“MMA hopes the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission will get involved. If this allegation is true, it would surely have increased the cost of healthcare.”

He added that other concessionaire agreements involving issues like the screening of foreign workers, which is under the Official Secrets Act, should also be investigated.

In a 12-page document sighted by FMT yesterday, it was alleged that companies linked to politicians close to the previous government controlled the supply of billions of ringgit worth of medical drugs to the government.

The document, which listed 20 companies with links to prominent politicians including ministers in the top levels of the Umno leadership, said these companies acted as “tendering agents”, reaping contracts worth RM3.7 billion between 2013 and 2016.

The tendering agents, according to the document, acted for more than 70 pharmaceutical companies, all of whom used only the “same few official-owned tendering agents”.

“The reason is clear, and it is none other than corruption,” said the dossier.

In a Twitter post early this morning, Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government would ensure that the supply chain of medication was efficient, responsible and transparent.

“The PH government aspires to fix any existing weaknesses and resolve any form of wastage, including wrongdoings, if proven,” he said.

Think tank Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy meanwhile called for an office of health procurement ombudsman which would review the ministry’s procurement process and make recommendations for improvement.

“The ombudsman will investigate and address procurement-related complaints against officials and practices to ensure that there is no abuse of power, corruption or maladministration.

“Reports will be tabled in Parliament and made public,” it said.

In a statement today, it added that Malaysia could not afford a trust deficit in its public healthcare system.

The think tank, which recently called for a review of Pharmaniaga’s role in the supply of biopharmaceutical products, said the task force formed to address such concerns must look into measures to introduce reforms which increase the level of transparency and integrity in the procurement process.

“The fact that health is a major expenditure worth several billions of ringgit each year makes this layer of scrutiny necessary.

“The appointment of an independent ombudsman has the potential to regain, strengthen and sustain the confidence of Malaysians in the public procurement system,” it said.

Shocking expose of politicians, royalty in multi-billion medicine monopoly

Review Pharmaniaga’s role, think tank urges government