KUALA LUMPUR: The health ministry is looking into developing a price transparency mechanism that would require pharmaceutical companies to reveal the selling price of crucial medicines, especially those used to treat cancer.
Health minister Khairy Jamaluddin told the Dewan Rakyat that this mechanism was necessary as there was currently no transparency from pharmaceutical firms on the matter.
“We are at the mercy of Big Pharma where we have no idea of the actual production cost of these drugs.
“Therefore, the ministry will present a paper on a price transparency mechanism for drug prices so that we would be able to know what would be fair prices for these medications.”
He was responding to Salim Sharif (BN-Jempol) who asked the ministry about its measures to stabilise the prices of drugs for the treatment of cancer and leukaemia.
Salim said the Jakavi drug used to treat leukaemia would cost RM3,000 for one month, while Posaconazole and Letermovir would cost RM13,000 and RM21,000 respectively for a month.
Khairy also said implementing a price control mechanism would be the last resort and maintained that the government was not in favour of intervening in the market.
“However, we will do it (implement a price control mechanism) if it is necessary. We have done this previously for vaccine supplies for the private sector,” he said.