We refer to the letters from Dr Daniel Chan Boon Yeow (Speedy appeal avenue for off-label cancer drugs needed in exceptional cases, June 29), and Dr Jeremy Lim (A way to balance escalating healthcare spending and individual patients’ needs, June 30).
We agree with Dr Lim that indeed we need to ensure that our policies are well-designed for the sake of 23,000 new cancer patients every year.
Hence, and as explained in previous replies, the Ministry of Health is making the changes to make cancer treatment and insurance policies more affordable and accessible to them, as the current policy of covering all drugs at all cost levels is unsustainable.
The issue is to cater to exceptional, off-label use of expensive drugs.
As explained, there are avenues available, such as Medication Assistance Fund Plus, MediFund, appeals to use more MediSave, and transfer from private care to public healthcare institutions.
This can be done without setting up any national body or medical panels to examine the cases. Clinicians can also write in to the Agency for Care Effectiveness to evaluate treatments for inclusion on the Cancer Drug List. Clinician panels are consulted as part of the process.
Director (Finance Policy)
Healthcare Finance Division
Ministry of Health