End of the road for Pharmaniaga concession, says Dzulkefly

(FMT) – Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad says Putrajaya is ending the concession of local drug company Pharmaniaga to distribute drugs and medical supplies to public hospitals.

According to a report in The Star, Dzulkefly said the government would no longer use concessionaires for logistics and the distribution of medical supplies.

“There will be no concessionaires anymore,” he was quoted as saying after the launch of an event in Kuala Lumpur.

He also said that the government would introduce an open tender system instead.

The report said Pharmaniaga, which has the sole concession to purchase, store, supply and distribute at least 700 pharmaceutical products on the Approved Product Purchase List, would be given a temporary extension of services.

This is to ensure that medical supplies and health services are not disrupted pending the government’s decision on a mechanism to manage the open tender.

Dzulkefly said he hoped the mechanism would be ready by the first quarter of next year.

Pharmaniaga’s concession reportedly ends on Nov 30.

Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy CEO Azrul Mohd Khalib previously called for a revamp of the system of procuring medication for the public sector to prevent virtual or actual monopolisation by any company.

In 2015, Pharmaniaga as the sole concession holder supplied 38.5% of the RM2.3 billion worth of medicines procured for all government hospitals and clinics as well as other health ministry institutions.

The ministry has repeatedly denied claims that Pharmaniaga has a monopoly.