Call on Prime Minister Najib to honour his pledge by personally intervening and resolving the unethical and cruel 24-hour halt of supplies to 750,000 pensioners of medicines and medical equipment by private provider OratisRx

When launching the Government Pensioners’ Foundation in April 2015, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak told the pensioners to “come to me if you need help”.

This is the time for the Najib to honour his pledge to the 750,000 pensioners by personally intervening and resolving the unethical and cruel 24-hour halt of supplies of medicines and medical equipment to pensioners by private provider, OratisRx Sdn. Bhd.

As former Aliran President, P. Ramakrishnan has described it, pensioners were hit with a thunder-bolt with the sudden announcement that no more medicine will be supplied for them by Oratis Services Sdn Bhd, the JPA-appointed company. Oratis had been supplying the medicine to all pensioners throughout the country since 2012.

A pensioner’s wife went to the general hospital on 27 February to apply for Suplasyn, (Sterile Sodium Hyaluronate) for treatment for her painful knee problem, and she was told that the hospital had received instructions not to prescribe this and other medicines as from 28 February. This treatment was available for all pensioners for many years.

Private hospitals, pharmacies and medical equipment suppliers registered with the e-MASS system with Oratis Services Sdn. Bhd were informed by email by OratisRx Sdh. Bhd by email on Feb. 27 that “any claims of repayment for supplies after February 27 2017 are invalid and not the responsibility of OratisRx Sdn Bhd”.

As pointed out by DAP Deputy National Publicity Secretary and MP for Kulai, Teoh Nie Ching:

“Many of the pensioners using the e-MASS facility are on treatment for chronic illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and kidney failure which require a high cost of treatment. A check with a pharmacy listed under Oratis Rx revealed a month’s worth of cardiovascular medications can cost up to RM400! …If this shutdown were due to upgrading purposes, why did it happen in such short notice? Had ample notice been given, the pensioners affected could have stocked up on their medications instead of being in such a cumbersome situation!”

What is the explanation of OratisRx Sdn. Bhd, the Health Ministry and PSD to such sudden and abrupt halt of medicines and medical equipment to pensioners?

The question posed by Ramakrishnan is most apt:

“Was there a falling out with certain personalities? Or is there a new company in the offing to take over this medical business from Oratis and reap a huge profit?”

As Nie Ching has rightly asked, while the amount paid for medications and medical equipment is claimable, how long would it take before the pensioners are able to get their money back?

Despite placing 60 days as the maximum in the time frame for reimbursement, pharmacies had to wait sometimes as long as 90-120 days for payment after making their claims!

Is this a sign that Malaysia is hurtling towards a failed state, with more and more systems breaking down, and in this case, exposing 750,000 pensioners to financial strain and worries during their retirement years?

Can Najib give both an answer and a solution within 24 hours?

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah