The cost of treatment for Hepatitis C in the country may soon come down to as low as RM500, to make it more accessible for patients. Currently, the cost of treatment for Hepatitis C is about RM50,000.
According to a recent report in the Star quoting Bernama Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said that the Cabinet had approved the use of Rights of Government under Patent Act 1983 (Act 291) by exploiting the patented invention of Sofosbuvir tablet 400mg, where the cost of treatment will be lower and more patients can be treated.
Dr Subramaniam said the decision to initiate the Rights of Government was made after the Health Ministry’s efforts to be included in the Medicine Patent Pool (MPP) and price negotiations with the patent holder were unsuccessful.
He emphasised, however, that the procurement of the 400mg Sofosbuvir tablet would be in accordance with current government procurement procedures. The implementation of the Rights of Government for the 400mg Sofosbuvir tablet was for use in government facilities only namely at Health Ministry and Armed Forces hospitals. Initially, it would be offered at 12 Health Ministry hospitals by the end of the year.
“The selection criteria of patients who will receive the treatment will follow the clinical guideline set by the clinical specialist,” he added.
There are about 500,000 patients in Malaysia infected with Hepatitis C and it was estimated that 2,000 new cases are reported every year. Dr Subramaniam hopes the implementation of the Rights of Government would enable more Hepatitis C patients to receive treatment while reducing the cost of treating complications arising from Hepatitis C.