Pharmaniaga denies wielding control over healthcare system

LOCAL pharmaceutical company Pharmaniaga Bhd has rebutted allegations that it has a “dominant grip and major influence” over the country’s healthcare system, adding that such claims were “baseless”.

The firm said the government is not solely dependent on it and that all measures are taken to ensure a diversified supply chain to avoid overreliance on a single company.

“Contrary to the claims, the Health Ministry (MOH) has spent approximately only 35% of its pharmaceutical spending via Pharmaniaga, with the group’s role limited to managing the logistics and distribution of the products, as well as holding the drug stockpile to the tune of RM400 million, as of December 31, 2022.

“The selection of suppliers, products and prices is determined by the MOH after concluding an open tender exercise,” Pharmaniaga said in a statement today.

The statement came after Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy CEO Azrul Khalib criticised the Health Ministry’s renewal of the company’s concession agreement.

Azrul was reported as saying exclusive concessions granted to companies like Pharmaniaga have created an “unhealthy over-dependence” on them.

On Azrul’s statement that the extension will put other pharmaceutical companies at a disadvantage, Pharmaniaga said it was a “flawed argument”.

“(This is) because the supply for Approved Product Purchase List (APPL) products is a competitive tender-based system that allows any qualified supplier to participate and win tenders. All winning tenders are decided by the MOH.

“The concession given to Pharmaniaga is merely for the logistics and distribution of APPL products,” it said.

Pharmaniaga said as of now, there are 729 APPL products supplied by 96 companies selected via open tender.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa confirmed that Pharmaniaga had been given a conditional agreement to continue providing medical supplies to the government for another 10 years.

Pharmaniaga said it was selected for the concession based on its successful track record in meeting the ministry’s stringent performance indicators, achieving more than 98% score consistently. – April 21, 2023.