3rd Nov 2020
Mr Leon Perera
MP for Aljunied GRC
Question No. 361
To ask the Minister for Health (a) how many applications for drug subsidy does the Drug Advisory Committee receive every year and how many of these applications are successful; (b) how many patients have received drug subsidies every year under the Medication Assistance Fund Plus scheme since it was introduced in 2011; and (c) whether the Ministry has conducted any review of the current framework for drug subsidy since the Standard Drug List Gap Analysis Project in 2007.
1. There are currently 581 drugs on the Standard Drug List (SDL) and 66 drugs listed for Medication Assistance Fund (MAF). The number of MAF recipients has been rising each year. In 2019, almost 18,000 unique patients received assistance from MAF. Drugs listed on the MAF are generally more expensive and must be prescribed to patients with specific clinical conditions in order to qualify for subsidy.
2. The Drug Advisory Committee (DAC) is supported by the Agency for Care Effectiveness (ACE). Each year, ACE receives applications for around 35 drugs for subsidy consideration from public healthcare institutions. Other drugs are also identified for evaluation through horizon scanning and monitoring drug utilisation trends. Since January 2016, ACE has evaluated 211 drugs for the DAC’s deliberation. 114 of these drugs were recommended by the DAC for subsidy listing on either the SDL or MAF.
3. ACE conducts regular horizon scanning and gap analyses to identify therapeutic gaps in the SDL and MAF. For instance, this resulted in the listing of SGLT2 inhibitors for Type 2 diabetes mellitus in 2018, which reduced the co-payment for eligible patients to below $10 a month after 75% subsidy. We will continue to review the list of subsidised drugs regularly to ensure it is sufficiently comprehensive to meet the needs of our local population while taking into account evidence on clinical and cost effectiveness.