Half price brand-name drugs for patients on subsidised healthcare scheme

Patients on a nationwide subsidised healthcare scheme can now get 24 branded drugs at half price under a new initiative. The discount, offered by pharmaceutical firm MSD, applies to those on Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS). The scheme provides lower to middle income patients Government subsidies to help pay their bills at private general practices and dental clinics.

The discount will mean easier access to otherwise costly drugs at the 243 clinics which are taking part in the discount scheme, called MSD Assist. Patients can sign up at any of these clinics for free.

Doctors generally welcomed the move and said patients will now have more options without burning a hole in their pockets - especially in cases when the drugs may be more effective at treating their problems.

The brand-name drugs cover 17 common ailments including diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and asthma.