Roche’s free meds programme at private hospitals continues

Boo Su-Lyn
Roche Malaysia said the RPAP was a subsidised programme that supported patients’ overall treatment cost that was not covered by insurance, employer benefits, or any third-party financing. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 18 — Roche Malaysia assured patients that the Health Ministry’s suspension of the Patient Access Scheme (PASc) did not affect its free-drug programme at private hospitals.

The pharmaceutical company said the Roche Patient Assistance Programme (RPAP) was a subsidised programme that supported patients’ overall treatment cost that was not covered by insurance, employer benefits, or any third-party financing.

“Roche Malaysia would like to state that the RPAP which is available at private hospitals, is committed to helping eligible patients access the prescribed Roche medication,” Roche Malaysia said in a statement.

“RPAP has been offered to eligible patients since 2007 and to-date, more than 5,000 Malaysian patients have benefitted from this ongoing initiative.”

Malay Mail reported that the Health Ministry suspended since Monday the PASc — a programme where pharmaceutical companies provide certain expensive innovative drugs to a limited number of patients for free upon selling other medicines to the government — over concerns of integrity.

Most of these free medications are for cancer and rare disease patients.

Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said later that the 16 ongoing PASc programmes would continue, but his ministry was reviewing two new applications.

The Pharmaceutical Association of Malaysia urged the ministry yesterday to decide quickly on its review of the PASc, noting that more than 10 of its members offered the patient assistance scheme here that has benefited about 12,000 patients from 2013 to 2016.

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