Come 2021, Medishield Life premiums will increase by up to 35%.
It adds to our already high cost of living but we have no choice but to pay up.
We may unhappily dismiss it as the result of medical inflation- a strange phenomenon whereby prices just keep going up and up.
The Medishield Life Council, in trying to justify the premium increase, would certainly like us to believe so.
They add to the myth by appointing a panel of oncologist to investigate the high cost of cancer drugs.
But this is just a show because they probably know why medicine is so expensive in Singapore – we use mainly branded or patented medicine, unlike many other countries in the region where generic medicine is used to keep cost down.
An ST forum writer, Dr Desmond Wai, wrote last year :
“Countries with lower gross domestic product than Singapore, such as Thailand, Bangladesh and India, try to cut costs with the following strategies.
Public hospitals use generic drugs, whose prices are a fraction of those of patented drugs.”
So, why don’t public hospitals here use more generic drugs too?
That’s a question all Singaporeans should ponder.
Foong Swee Fong