I want the price of drugs to be cheap,
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has called for transparency in drug pricing to tackle price fluctuations in the market.

"I urge the director general to compare drug prices with the ones in Malaysia. People say drug prices in Malaysia are cheaper. (Also check) medicine available in Singapore but not in Indonesia," he said at the “2023 National Health Work Meeting (Rakerkesnas)” in Jakarta on Friday.

He expressed the hope that price comparisons with drug products in foreign markets would provide an idea to the public regarding drug transactions at healthcare facilities.

"Please check what type of drug with the most different prices between Indonesia and Malaysia. Get the list and we will make it transparent so we can compare it," Sadikin added.

Besides price comparisons, he also asked his staff to collect information on prices and the need for medicines by carrying out consultations with medical professional organizations.

"For example, ask the association of oncologists and cardiologists in Indonesia (about) which medicines are expensive. Then, go back to the community level and listen to their complaints. Do not talk about it at the elite level," he emphasized.

He said people have complained about the high prices of drugs, adding that he will also push for drug price transparency between drug importers and hospitals.

He noted that expensive drugs tend to be difficult to obtain, leading to cases of smuggling and circumvention of taxes.

"Yesterday, I found a personal shopper service (jastip) in North Sumatra to buy medicines," he said.

He revealed that the government’s budget allocation for drug spending is around Rp26 trillion (around US$1.7 billion). Currently, the Ministry of Health is working with the national industry to absorb around Rp20 trillion (around US$1.3 billion) of the budget for the utilization of the domestic component level (TKDN) for drug production.

"We encourage factory investment to enter the country. I want the price of drugs to be cheap," he added.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Resinta S
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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