Jakarta (ANTARA) - Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin asked the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) to improve its work in providing easy, quality, and affordable service for the community.

"I entrust the BPOM and a state-owned Health Care and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan). The ministry's job is to provide health services for the public. Service for the public must be easy, quality, and affordable," he conveyed at the commemoration of BPOM's anniversary in Jakarta on Sunday.

The minister said that BPOM must improve medicine procurement in Indonesia to cut medicine disparity.

"We cannot lose the competition with Singapore and Malaysia. Do not let them have a cancer cure; we do not have it. Moreover, do not let rich countries have early access to vaccines, and we will not get them just because we cannot produce them," he emphasized.

Furthermore, he noted that good health service is related to the quality of medicine and food products.

"We cannot eat packaged food, but it turns out it is poisonous, and medicine is also too harsh. We have to maintain it," Sadikin added.

He mentioned that the BPOM needs to increase its role in monitoring drug quality to ensure drug efficacy in Indonesia.

"We must have quality medicine just like Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. We cannot have drugs available in those countries a year later," Sadikin said.

Regarding affordable drug prices, he urged all administrative processes for drug procurement to be improved.

"I am grateful that the Indonesian people have the state-owned Health Care and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan). They can get free medicine. However, our middle and upper classes still have to go to Malaysia for cheaper treatment and medicine. We need to fix that," he addressed.

On that occasion, he also wished the BPOM, on its 23rd anniversary, would become better at providing access to quality and affordable medicine.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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