The Ministry of Health (MOH) today refuted the allegation that cancer patients had to pay RM400 for cancer drugs alone when seeking treatment at public hospitals.
MOH secretary-general Dr Chen Chaw Min said the charge was not just for a box of Tamoxifen or Letrozole (breast cancer drugs) as claimed, but rather for the total treatment provided to the patients per treatment cycle of four weeks.
“A cancer patient needs a continuous treatment and the charge is imposed once in every four weeks,” he said in a statement today.
He said the charge was set based on the Guidelines on Charging for Antineoplastic Treatment and based on Section 4 – Radiotherapy and Oncology Treatments of the Fees (Medical) (Amendment) Order 2017 issued by the MOH Finance Division, dated Jan 26, 2017.
The Star Online had recently reported that cancer patients referred from private hospitals to public hospitals were paying more for cancer treatment and drugs.
Chen said the charge for total treatment, which includes consultation, drugs and indirect costs, imposed on cancer patients at all public hospitals and the National Cancer Institute was actually far less than the costs they had to pay at any private hospital.
“Besides, we also want to make it clear that the revenue collected from cancer patients seeking treatment at public hospitals in 2017 was only 2.64 percent of the total cost borne by the government.
“Hence, the perception that public hospitals were raking in profits from patients seeking treatment is wrong and baseless,” he said.