55 cancer drugs to be added to list of subsidised drugs; fewer patients to pay out-of-pocket for cancer treatment

Currently, people can draw up to $1,200 a month for all cancer drug treatments. PHOTO: UNSPLASH

SINGAPORE - Another 55 cancer drugs will be added to Singapore's list of subsidised drugs following negotiations with pharmaceutical companies, which have allowed the Republic to secure the drugs at lower prices.

These additions to the Standard Drug List and Medication Assistance Fund (MAF) will mean increased funding for around 150 cancer treatments, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday (Aug 17).

It added that eligibility criteria for the MAF - which subsidises expensive drugs that have been deemed necessary - will also be expanded from September next year.

With this, Singaporeans with a per capita household income of up to $6,500 will qualify for drug subsidies, for cancer as well as other ailments.

At present, only people earning a per capita household income of $2,800 and below can get help from the scheme.

In its statement, MOH also said MediSave withdrawal limits for cancer drugs will be tweaked in tandem with the latest changes to MediShield Life claim limits.

Currently, people can draw up to $1,200 a month for all cancer drug treatments and related services, such as blood tests. When the changes take effect next year, these withdrawal limits will go down to $600 for some people, depending on the type of drugs they are using.

Still, close to 90 per cent of subsidised Singaporean patients who use cost-effective and clinically proven cancer treatments will have their drug bills fully covered by subsidies, MediShield Life and MediSave, MOH said. They will not have to fork out any money out-of-pocket.

In comparison, about 70 per cent of all subsidised patients taking cancer drugs now have their bills fully covered.

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