Health Ministry hopes for zero cuts during 2017 Budget

PETALING JAYA: The government should not impose cuts on the Health Ministry's budget allocation for 2017 to ensure the rakyat continue to receive the best healthcare available.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya (pix) said despite the current economic climate, he hopes the government will not cut the ministry's allocation.

"We hope to at least get the budget allocated to us in 2016.

"Nothing less because we cannot afford that," he said after officiating Getz Healthcare (M) Sdn Bhd's office, here, today.

When asked on the cost-cutting measures implemented this year, Hilmi said at the moment medical equipment had to be purchased in phases to ease the demand in hospitals.

"In the future, the ministry is also looking at purchasing medical equipment through a lease-rental agreement which will result in more money being saved.

"This is because many types of medical equipment including the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine, Computerised Tomography (CT) scan machine and ultra sound machines in government hospitals and clinics are at least 10 to 15 years-old.

"These machines are either due for replacement or refurbishment for continued usage," he said.

The Balik Pulau MP however reassured that medicinal supplies are currently not affected.

"The ministry cannot cut down the supply of medicines.

"In terms of value the ministry is currently supplying 50% generic medicines and 50% original medicines to the people," he said.

Stating that the ministry spent RM2 billion on medicines alone this year, Hilmi said that the ministry intends to enlarge its medicines supply for the same value by increasing the allocation for generic medicines instead.

"Generic medicines are equally good and much cheaper. Of course prior to approval the government will conduct a bio-equivalent testing to compare its quality and effectiveness against original medicine before going ahead with it.

"We will then slowly increase the generic portion from time to time ," he added.