Floundering Pharmaniaga: find more medicine suppliers, govt urged


Any disruption to supplies could especially affect more vulnerable patients, says MMA

KUALA LUMPUR – The medical fraternity has urged the government to find more medicine suppliers, amid growing concerns of Pharmaniaga’s financial woes, which could potentially affect medicine supplies in public healthcare facilities.

Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai said any disruption to supplies would have a detrimental effect, especially for more vulnerable patients.

“We do not wish for any supplier to reduce or stop their supplies of medicines to Pharmaniaga for public healthcare facilities; however, if the issue is prolonged, these suppliers may be left with no other option as they too may run into losses if outstanding payments aren’t settled.

“The supply of essential medicines (to treat emergency and acute cases) can be affected if such a scenario happens.

“Emergency cases as well as patients relying on public healthcare for a continuous supply of medicines will be among the most affected.

“The government may need to open up to the idea of allowing other providers to supply and distribute medicines to the public healthcare sector as it has proven to be too risky to depend on a sole provider.

“This of course will take time to implement. In the meantime, urgent steps are needed to secure an ample supply of medicines for public healthcare,” he said in a statement today.

This follows after Pharmaniaga filed for Practice Note 17 (PN17) – financially distressed – with Bursa Malaysia recently.

On February 27, Pharmaniaga reported a net loss of RM 607.32 million for the financial year ended December 31, 2022 against a net profit of RM172.15 million in the previous year.

Similarly, Pharmaceutical Association of Malaysia executive director Chan Li Jin also told Free Malaysia Today that Pharmaniaga’s financial situation had created unease among their pharmaceutical vendors.

Chan revealed that Pharmaniaga had recently sent letters of assurance to pharmaceutical companies, guaranteeing its operations would remain intact and they can meet all of their financial obligations.

“In normal circumstances, supplies would be temporarily stopped until payment has been cleared.

“However, pharmaceutical companies continue to supply their medicines out of a sense of responsibility for patients’ lives and their health, as some are life-saving medicines.

“Still, the uncertainty is unsettling because of the large volumes involved,” she said to the news portal.

To remedy the situation, she called for an open dialogue with all relevant stakeholders, including the Health Ministry.

Pharmaniaga is a concession holder supplying medicine to public healthcare facilities, responsible for over a third of generic drug supplies in the country.

– The Vibes, March 29, 2023

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