Minister mulls over proposal to put price tag on medication labels
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
A LEGISLATIVE Council (LegCo) member yesterday suggested for the price of drugs and medicines supplied by the government to be printed on the label of all medicine dispensed by government pharmacies to raise awareness among the public of the cost of subsidising medicines.
Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Maharaja Kerna Dato Paduka Seri Hj Yaakub POKMD Dato Paduka Awg Hj Zainal said during the ongoing 12th Legislative Council session yesterday that he hoped the move would raise awareness among the public of the burden of such expenditure undertaken by the government for the public to reduce instances of the medicine going to waste.
“The former minister of health in 2014 had previously said that there were a number of people who did not take the medicine that was dispensed to them or did not take it in the way that was prescribed which would only exacerbate the health problems faced by the patient and also waste public funds,” he said.
“I propose to the ministry that the price of the medicine be displayed on the medicine’s label for the purpose of informing the public the true cost of obtaining the medication which are sometimes taken for granted,” he said.
Currently, locals and permanent residents are dispensed medication at hospitals and health centres free of charge, although a small sum is charged as registration fee for every visit.
The LegCo member said that the move could also teach locals to not be wasteful with their prescribed medicines.
“The printing of the price of medicine on the labels will not just help prevent wastage but also indirectly teach the public to be prudent and to appreciate the free medicines supplied by the government,” he said. The Minister of Health Yang Berhormat Dato Paduka Dr Hj Zulkarnain Hj Hanafi responded by enthusiastically supporting the proposal by the LegCo member.
“This is perhaps an excellent idea to subtly raise awareness among the public on the cost of public healthcare in Brunei,” he said. “Sometimes it is hard to change the habits of people when you tell them to do so directly so such a move would make the patients think twice for themselves before forgetting or intentionally missing their medication and throwing them away,” he said.
The Brunei Times