Sunday, 30 October 2016

A shocking discovery

These few medicine costs RM 75.90

I was shocked when I heard RM 75.90. Could it be a mistake? Then the pharmacist repeat again: “75.90”. I took out a hundred ringgit note and she returned me RM 24.10. Okay, it wasn’t a mistake. The medicine for the all-time favourite combination sickness that loves to strike fellow Malaysians – fever, flu and sore throat – costs a whopping RM 75.90 from a pharmacy.

On second thought, could I be ripped off by the pharmacist? I checked with mom and at the same time complaining about the exorbitant price. “That’s cheap liao girl!” mom replied. “These days a visit to Dr. Lau or Dr Lee (referring to the two family physician popular among Teluk Intan folks) can easily be RM 100 and more if you need antibiotics.”

After a few more conversations with friends affirming the exorbitant price of medicine in Malaysia, I have to admit I have been blessed with good health all these years and my last visit to the doctor for fever, flu and cough was in 2012. Back then, a visit to the doctor will never cost more than RM40.00.

“The price in your memory was that of king kong years ago. You have to add in inflation and blaaaa blaaaa,” teased my dear colleague Aloysius.

“Why are you complaining when in actual it only cost you SGD 25?”

“Affordable to me but what about other people in the middle and lower income group, what about retirees?” I replied him with a question of my own.

“All thanks to greedy pharmaceutical companies and the capitalist system.” He sneered.

While I don’t agree that capitalism contributed to high cost of medical bills in developed and poor countries alike, I do agree that greed among shareholders and management of the pharmaceutical companies plays a huge role.

At the same time, I am of the opinion that Malaysians are considered luckier than the people in many other countries thanks to Klinik 1 Malaysia and government hospitals where the cost is RM 1 per visit. However, the long waiting list and limited consultation hours can be an agony for the sick and I hope that the government will address this issue for the benefit of all Malaysians.

As the old adage goes, health equals to wealth; it is definitely cheaper to stay healthy regardless of how much cheaper the cost of medical bills will be. 

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