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MOH to study how to help GPs access cheaper drugs

We thank Mr Chan Chong Leong, Dr Desmond Wai and Mr Lim Kok Keong for their letters, “Non-standard drugs should not cost so much” (May 23), “Can Govt help family physicians procure drugs for cheaper price?” (May 23), and “Steps can be taken to help family physicians with medication costs” (May 25).

A range of strategies helps to keep medicines affordable for patients. For example, we have established a centralised public healthcare drug procurement agency called ALPS to achieve economies of scale and negotiating leverage.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) shares the concerns on higher drug prices at general practitioner (GP) clinics compared with polyclinics.

As part of Healthier SG’s move to anchor care with family physicians, we will study the suggestions made to help GP clinics access cheaper sources of commonly used drugs.

To help keep medications affordable for subsidised patients, MOH provides substantial subsidies for a list of drugs that are endorsed by the Drug Advisory Committee to be clinically- and cost-effective.

These include both generic and non-generic drugs, which are used to manage various conditions, including metabolic disorders and skin conditions.

Many generic drugs are as effective as branded ones, and patients are encouraged to use generic drugs where they are suitable.

MOH reviews this list regularly to ensure it stays relevant to changes in local population needs, medical practice and evidence on clinical- and cost-effectiveness.

We will continue to review our policies to ensure that healthcare remains affordable for Singaporeans.

Teh Shi-Hua

Director (Subsidy and Subvention)

Healthcare Finance Division

Ministry of Health

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