The story of selling medicine in Malaysia Part 1

A few years ago, the Ministry of Health made a ruling that all medication sold in our country must have a hologram to prove that it is not counterfeit. For those who do not know what is a hologram, just look at your CDs cover, there is a small rectangular piece of shining paper sticking to the plastic cover to prove that the CDs or DVDs are the real things. Now, all medicine boxes have this because of the ruling made afew years ago.( Look at your medicien box – there is a small piece of sliver paper sticking to the box about 1.5 com by 1 cm).

First let me tell you the story of the holograms on CDs. Someone made the ruling that all original CDs and DVDs distributed in Malaysia must have a hologram sticker from a certain company some time ago. You think the pirates would be crying because this ruling would made their life difficult?   No No..  From what i was told, holograms on CDs made the pirates even happier. The pirates bought some of these holograms through backdoor ( in Malaysia, anything also ‘boleh’), and they stick the hologram on the pirated CDs and DVDs and sell them as originals at slightly less than original price. They earn more profits that way, since each piece of hologram costs about 15 cents, but after sticking the holograms on the cover, they can sell a pirated DVD,  which normally sells about RM10 a piece , at twice or three times the price. So the original manufacturers do not gain anything in bashing the pirating of the pirates. The pirates gain more in fact. The ones that gain the most of course is the company which got the sole contract to manufacture the holograms and which all original manufacturers and distributors have to buy from. Needless to say, the company is owned by … …………….

Some one must have thought of medication then. Soon,  the Ministry of Health decided to follow suit. All medicine boxes must contain hologram to prove that they are real.

To combat counterfeit, what they should have done is to have better and cleaner enforcement officers, instead of resorting to this ‘hologram’ method. But never mind, someone up there said all medicine boxes must have holograms produced by a certain company only. So, all drugs manufacturers and drug distributors have to buy holograms, and then employ staff just to stick these holograms onto the boxes. The cost of each hologram is about 15 cents; add in the costs of getting extra workers to stick the hologram, each box of medicine would cost about 30 cents more, that is what the drug companies told me. Whether these holograms have helped combat counterfeit medicine, I leave it to you clever people out there to decide.

But the drug companies are not here to do charity. They want profits. So, they pass the cost to the consumers. Each box costs them 30 cents more, but using this as an excuse, most companies increased the price by one or 2 dollars or even 5 when the ruling was first enforced a few years ago…. Just like the coffee shop, when sugar goes up 10 cents per kilo, each cup of coffee also goes up by 10cents. Same logic applies here. I suspect, counterfeit pirates must be selling their boxes of medicine with original holograms , too, to make them look real, but this I have no proof. You may say that one or two dollars increase is OK for working people like you and me, but we are not the ones so dependent on medicine.

Who are the one taking medicines regularly? The old people of course. The old and retired people. They have no income, but instead they are the one who suffered the last round when holograms rule was first enforced. Imagine, if the poor man is on five types of medicine, he has to foot at least 10 bucks more… I tell you, there are some taking 10 types of medications, and the holgram exercise made them 20 to 30 bucks poorer each time they go to refill their medicine. By the way, I was told that the hologram market in Malaysia for medication boxes is as big as tens of millions (50 millions, some put it) a year. All these go to the company with the rights to sell the hologram..And this company is owned by…….You guess right, clever people…

SO that is the end of the story about holograms.  Now, another ruling by the same Ministry Of Health is going to see medicine price going up again, in these days of inflation. The latest ruling is by October this year, no more loose packing or bottle packing of medicine are allowed to be manufactured or distributed. What will be the impact?  …..wait for Part 2.

Part 2 is here.

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15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. monsterball
    Jul 25, 2008 @ 20:59:48

    hi Doc…Min Of Trade declared war against pirators of music and movies for more than 40 years….yet the war is a never ending war.
    Personally…..I support look-a-like [the word “pirate” was coined by Americans…sound so terrible!….purposely to brain wash the world!}
    You see….sometime look-a-like helps to sell more originals…with free publicity adverts.
    And look-a-like give the poor…a chance to enjoy .what the rich can afford to buy.
    Originals cost RM75 per movie. Look-a-like cost RM5…….and very close to originals
    So in the medical side…..famous look-as-like are branded asprins. Whether they will do harm..to consumers…I doubt.
    I think…all over the world..especially for poor and middle class countries like ours….governments will keep one eye close and their pockets wide open. These are accepted small briberies….monthly..on and on.
    But RM500 million extra charges to buy Russian military goods are considered by Najib…as commission. Commission is legal…bribery is corruptions.
    I recalled the Health Minister under Tunku Abdul Rahman..retired a poor man..no corruptions…just spend his salaries on women.
    Nice guy…………..but a pain in the arse…keep phoning for donations.
    Gone are these lover of life……lover of the country……and take just enough…..for enjoyment.
    These days…every minister is finding ways and means ..to make a bundle.
    All promises are made …just for politics.
    After that…the real hungry ghost takes over.

    Like

  2. A true Malaysian
    Jul 25, 2008 @ 21:12:51

    With due respect to all doctors, Malaysia should look into the need to have qualified pharmacist to dispense drugs, instead of by the diagnosing doctor.

    While the mis-use of hologram on CD, VCD or DVD would have no life threatening to the buyer, fake hologram on medicine / drugs may cause serious effect on user’s health or even cause death.

    Like

  3. Justin Choo
    Jul 25, 2008 @ 21:30:32

    In fact I commented on this sticker in Anil’s blog and asked him to investigate. My father is in this line, producing our own Chinese medicines. So we know who owns this “!@#$%^&” company which sells these stickers. Actually it’s easy to find out. Check with the ROC and trace the connections. IT’S DAYLIGHT ROBBERY; VICTIMS THE POOR END USERS!!

    About no loose packaging, it’s already cashing in. Don’t have to wait till Oct. A few days ago wifey went to buy some loose packaging tablets…sorry no more loose packaging. Pay more for the packaged ones!!

    !@#$%^& !!

    Like

  4. novice101
    Jul 26, 2008 @ 01:26:52

    In ‘Bolehland’ when something like this is introduced it’s normally to line someone’s pocket. It’s all a big farce, nothing to really protect the helpless consumers.

    Like

  5. yh
    Jul 26, 2008 @ 08:12:44

    what about the security labels for cigarettes? same modus operandi. monopoly given to….and the privileged guy comes from the keris-waving family.
    ya ketuanan melayu and meantime they laugh all the way to the bank. guess, who forms the largest smoking community. the poor and the malay, isnt it?

    Like

  6. monsterball
    Jul 26, 2008 @ 09:52:40

    In any product..trade or idea ….first thing by present government head of Dept staffs……be it the police..or the minster it self…. is to find ways and means to make easy money.
    You see Doc. ….when you are dealing with a very corrupted government….corrupted from top to bottom….and having a PM for 22 years…doing same thing….supporting others to be corrupted…..share and share alike…..like a band of gangsters…..become a hero…..doing that…..you can dream on..and on for sensible reasons….to your confused mind. Whatever right or smart ideas or suggestions to stop the rot….will be met with lips service approval only.
    When have anyone sees a clear cut corrupted matter…..investigated from top to finish? Always half way….then…forgotten.
    They must show outwardly….they all agree to stamp out corruptions…or keep quiet…no comments…..but not one dare to actually be sincere and truthful…..since all are corrupted…one way or another.
    So ….as long as you have clear corrupted ministers….and police..and legal system…advocates and solicitors….there is no solutions to your part one…even up to part ten of your message.
    UMNO is simple incorrigible…….partly due too the fact….they feel they own the country. Royalties are to toe the line…..or else. One or two royalties did misbehaved…balance of others need to suffer in silence….when UMNO punished them….mooted by Mahathir..a real hero…but infact….is to control all….to be a dictator. He did everything to strengthen himself…never for the country. He is a smart con man.
    As long as you have UMNO and BN…forget complaining……or giving good ideas.
    Don’t be confused or keeping thinking ……why like so…..when everyday…….papers are saying all nice about UMNO?
    UMNO ministers are also saying such nice things.
    But the recent Trengganu incident…..buying Merz to replace Perdana…give you a glimps..how UMNO work. At the end of such irresponsible downright braggart decision…all are forgiven…life moves on…no sacking at all.
    Everyone must protect everyone in UMNO…or else. ..all will land in jail.
    That’s how united UMNO ministers and high ranking politicians are….showing to Malaysians…so clear….they care only for themselves.
    Now the MB of Trengganu is laughing…..knowing so many corrupted deeds were done before him….and the 12 Merz cars…is small matter. ….compared to those billions RM projects…to enrich few ministers in Trengganu.
    Giving ACA full power is one thing.
    Having Dollah to say…”go open the file on the monsoon cup…..and investigate”…dream on.

    Like

  7. monsterball
    Jul 26, 2008 @ 09:55:06

    Guan kon=Doc
    Chang fei=True Malaysian
    Lui Bei =monsterball
    Never so many …owe so much….to so few!!

    Like

  8. folo4
    Jul 26, 2008 @ 11:31:48


    Giving ACA full power is one thing.
    Having Dollah to say…”go open the file on the monsoon cup…..and investigate”…dream on.”

    AHA, monsterball has followed my paranoia about the ACA’s recent bitings!

    what? Same government, same thing.

    Money buys EVERYTHING; anything else that’s saying otherwise are idealistic brats who clearly do not know the world.

    and the present Government has lots of money, to MAKE EVEN MORE money.

    Humanity had lost it’s sympathy ever since WW2 ended. Perhaps we need another world war to teach humanity to love one another. Again.

    Like

  9. Dr Hsu
    Jul 26, 2008 @ 12:07:50

    Morgan Stanley estimated that $100 Billion was lost to corruption over the past 2 decades.

    looking at the Perdana fiasco in Trengganu when one perdana needed more than 120000 for maintenance, i would say the figure quoted by Morgan Staley is way too low.
    Lets say the amount is 200 billions. If the government just put this money in a bank and earn a interest rate of say 4%, we would have extra 8 billion a year just from interest. If it has invested in a funds giving 8% returns p.a., the amount would be 16 Billion a year….. How much can you do with these huge sums of money? In fact, we can just sit tight and buy suceessful internationalcompanies and move some of their maufacturing plants to Malaysia with this amount.

    We would be richer than S Korea …. Instead we are suffering like never before…

    Like

  10. jeff
    Jul 26, 2008 @ 23:46:36

    It’s alrght we suffer, so long as umnoputra richer.
    It ‘s not about country future or Malaysian future, it is all about umnoputra n his family members getting filthy rich at all Malaysians n Malaysia expense!!!!Cheer….

    Like

  11. jeff
    Jul 26, 2008 @ 23:49:29

    “mamak” is a very smart con..race n religon, hate n lie , twist n loop are his medicine for the Malay.

    Like

  12. monsterball
    Jul 27, 2008 @ 10:48:04

    Talking about medicine…I recalled the ever kind hearted good soul…Tunku Abdul Rahman fed all footballers with ginseng..before a match against Korea.
    We lost….all got stomachaches!!
    Ate one whole tin of 32 white chocs recommended by Doc…I had to spend RM100 on bird nest..to shit it out!!
    Wonderful…Doc..said eat one a day.
    If he is Minister of Health…and within his 6ft 1inch height….he maybe thinking …how to get Malaysians grow taller….not to be bullied anymore…..totally different ideas from Mahathir…building huge monuments and white elephant projects..to brag and simultaneously…make bundles…ten times bigger than others crooks.
    That’s why he is the smartest UMNO crook right now.
    When come another…oh gosh!!..hope… NEVER!!

    Like

  13. jeff
    Jul 27, 2008 @ 22:19:16

    We do not need hologram to sell medicine, it ‘s better to let a medical doctor selling medicines to cure all the “sicko”in Malaysia personally. DR.M the most successsful medicine seller in Malaysia.

    Like

  14. noyawns
    Jul 27, 2008 @ 23:21:07

    Heard that Chua JM’s family owns the hologram company locally…also that he kepovt – t insisting the outbreak of Nipah virus was JE because he had bought a ton of JE vaccine via his family’s company…so UMNO ‘chiak’ BIG, MCA also ‘chiak’! Pariah BN govt – we the rakyat let them stay on in power, we deserve the govt we get. Vote them OUT.

    Like

  15. jeff
    Jul 28, 2008 @ 00:32:05

    Not only selling medicine require hologram in Malaysia, selling aphrodisiac medicine is becoming a regulated industry too by government.
    Soon MCA will have a medical doctor to be the president…..

    Like

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