Archive of previous messages from the President

President's Message - December 2017

All of a sudden the last month of the year is upon us. How time flies. Since my last message several things have happened.

As a follow through of the June joint meeting of the industry, MAPS, PhAMA and MOPI, we managed to have a fruitful meeting on August 24th with the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Health, Datuk Seri Dr Chen Chaw Min together with senior members of his team. We managed to discuss and hear on various issues including the SL1M program, proposal on mandatory declaration of medicine prices, corporatisation of NPRA, Healthcare Transformation, Patient Assisted Program (PAP) and the direction of hologram/track and trace system.

This was followed up by a further discussion on September 7th, with the Bahagian Perkhidmatan Farmasi to work out the mechanics of the price declaration. Members are reminded to register with the Mypharma-C portal to report on the prices.

Also following through on the meeting with the Secretary-General, a closed door meeting was held on October 13th on the track and trace system, which would be the first in a series of such meetings. Ultimately the aim of this system is to provide an end-to-end track and trace system to enhance the safety features of medicine supply.

On the competition front, there have been a series of meetings held by the MyCC Pharmaceutical Steering Committee, and the appointed consultants to review the Pharmaceutical market. This has resulted in the publication of a draft report of the Pharmaceutical review available on the MyCC website. Two public consultations were called to gather feedback from the public, in Kuala Lumpur (November 22) and Penang (November 24). Another avenue for feedback is via the MyCC website. As a reminder, if you have any feedback please provide tit through the link on the website by December 7th 9.00 am.

As you can see, MAPS is very actively engaged to represent the interests which are aligned to yours. Shortly, we will be sending out notices for membership renewal for 2018. A notice on the 2018 Annual General Meeting will be sent out early 2018. You need to be a fully paid up member, in order to exercise your rights.

Another exciting event is the Workshop on API, BE & LAB exclusive event with MAPS on 18 January 2018. This event will feature speakers from the NPRA. The secretariat has informed that within just 2 days of opening registration 1/3rd of available seats have already been registered. Do hurry to register, as this is a highly valuable session.

Finally, I take this time to wish an early Christmas greeting to you and a happy new year.

President's Message - Jun 2017

In a few days, we will be celebrating Hari Raya Puasa, after a month of fasting. I would like to firstly wish all of us Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Our 6th AGM was conducted smoothly on 21st March. We thank the members for continuing to support our role in representing our shared interests. We hope that members will also take up more active roles in the association, as there is an increasing need to engage stakeholders in the industry, especially at this time when many proposals are being made to amendments of legislations.

A delegation from MAPS visited the CPhI South East Asia Conference in Jakarta from 22 -24th March 2017. Members who attended the conference have started to work on opportunities, and are continuing to engage the exhibitors to bring these to fruition.

We also successfully organised a Halal Pharmaceuticals talk on April 6th, attended by about 30 participants. Our distinguished panel of 4 experts delivered a very engaging session.

A regulatory subcommittee meeting on May 9th was well attended, and many issues were discussed in anticipation for our dialogue with NPRA. Many topics were covered including new product registration, product registration renewal, Zone IVB requirements, BE centre accreditation and Quest 3+ issues. Members are encouraged to send their regulatory officers to such meetings as it is an avenue in which much can be gained in raising issues affecting this key point of our business existence. Our dialogue with NPRA originally scheduled for June 6th was deferred to July 3rd due to the appointment of the new Director of NPRA.

MAPS represented by the President celebrated MPS's 50th anniversary ceremony and events on May 13th.

The three industry associations, MAPS, MOPI and PhAMA met to discuss various issues on 5th June. Main topic discussed was the proposed amendment to Good Pharmaceutical Trade Practises. The MyCC has given the opportunity to the industry to propose amendments to the GPTP as a higher compliance to the GPTP is desired. It was agrred at this meeting that we would also seek a meeting with the Secretary General of MOH to discuss the anti-counterfeiting program (Hologram/GS1).

A seminar on Improving Health Innovation and Access to Medicines was organised by IDEAS, and MAPS was represented to discuss the issue of encouraging and protecting health innovation and increasing access to medical technologies and medicines. It was organised as part of supporting World Health Day and World Intellectual Property Day, is aimed to be a platform for relevant stakeholders in the health sector in Malaysia to discuss on the progress made thus far under the Healthcare National Key Economic Area (NKEA) sector, focusing on the development of pharmaceutical products and health devices.

Within the month of June alone various government engagements were conducted to gather feedback on amandements to the following legislation

  1. Peraturan-peraturan Kawalan Dadah & Kosmetik 1984, + Deklarasi Harga Ubat
  2. Peraturan-peraturan AHLI FARMASI 2004
  3. Peraturan-peraturan berkaitan Fi
The impact of the above amendments may see a rise in various fees and compliance to price declarations. MAPS either individually or in cooperation with the industry associations will be making counter-proposals to the amendments.

President's Message - Mar 2017

I would like to start by thanking the participants of our year 2016 Salary survey, making it the 4th successive year that we have published the survey. The final results were posted to participants before the end of last year, and is expected to have guided participants on the salary and benefits for the relevant staff categories.

MAPS regulatory committe was also represented in the Technical Working Groups on Bioequivalence, and the inputs were distributed to help guide our members.

The Minitry of Health also shared via our secretariat, the MOH Formulary (2016), a document of 402 pages. We trust that members will find it useful in sourcing products to expand their portfolio and also to meet the nation's needs.

As you may know the Anti-Profiteering mechanism was introduced along with the GST, and was originally meant to end by the first full year of GST implementation. However, it was extended to the end of last year. The Price Control and Anti-Profiteering (Mechanism to Determine Unreasonably High Profit for Goods) Regulations 2016 (2017 Regulations) was gazetted on 22 December 2016. The 2017 Regulations came into force on 1 January 2017 upon the expiry of the previous regulations on 31 December 2016. This new APM limited the scope to only certain classes of goods, which include food and beverages, and household goods.

On developments regarding the hologram, some proposals have been made to the Ministry of Health. One contender for this is the GS1 System. The Pharmaceutical Services and National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) was briefed on the "GS1 Healthcare Trial Project - Pharmaceutical Products Authentication and Getting Started with Track & Trace, Manufacturer to Distributor to Retailer". We are still waiting further development, but for the foreseeable future, the Meditag will remain.

The MyCC organised a Malaysia Competition Conference 2017 - Competition Law: Breaking Norms, Managing Change. There is growing interest in the Pharmaceutical Industry's competition practises. A Pharmaceutical Market Review was submitted to the MyCC, and MAPS had the opportunity to comment on the review.

We conducted a timely Good Governance in Medicines talk late last year, as the Pharmaceutical Services Division is spearheading further adoption of the practices. In this regard, the PSD will be making available 2 sets of GGM brochures to MAPS members, and is calling for an implementation meeting again just days after our AGM.

As the AGM comes around on the 21st Mar 2017, I hope that member companies will be represented in the AGM, although there is no election of office bearers this year. The coming together to receive the reports and to discuss matters will help guide the association to better serve its members' needs.

We are also very pleased that CPhI South East Asia organisers have reached out to MAPS, inviting our members to the event at the Jakarta International Expo from Mar 22 - 24th. There has been good response from our members for this event.

Back home, MAPS is organising a talk on "Halal Medicines" with a panel of 4 speakers for April 6th. A component of DuNas is on halal medicinces, and this remains a subject that we need to further understand and appreciate to remain relevant in this market. I trust that many of you will sign up for this event.

President's Message - Dec 2016

Many of us will be 'closing' the books as we end the Year 2016, in the next few days and are preparing to welcome 2017

Reflecting on the Year, we must say that it has not been easy.

The Pharmaceutical Industry has not recovered fully since the implementation of the GST in April 2015 coupled with the Government budget tightening, the weakened Ringgit against the US Dollar and a weak domestic demand. These are some of the challenges that the Industry will continue to face as it enters into 2017.

On the regulatory front, we have yet to see the full settling of the Quest 3+, but we are confident that the NPRA will take steps to alleviate our difficulties. The MyCC has been stating that it is now focused on the Pharmaceutical industry to ensure that anti-competitive afforts are weeded out. I trust that members will continue to review their policies and procedures to avoid being on the wrong side of the law.

As an Industry, which imports pharmaceutical and healthcare products into Malaysia, we must continue to be resilient, creative and innovative in sustaining and growing the Industry. MAPS will continue to be the umbrella where the interest and practice of the members be protected and enhanced as the eco-system of the healthcare continues to be challenged and evolve.

I strongly urge each one of you to continue to be more active in MAPS in the years to come. Do maximize the network available, within MAPS, to share experiences and collaborate with one another in accelerating Company performance and growth. The impact of this young society is already being felt, as MAPS has been recognized by the Bahagian Perkhidmatan Farmasi via the appointment of our Executive Director and Vice President, Dr Choe Tong Seng into the Pharmacy Board. We congratulate Dr Choe as he serves our country. Your participation will ensure that MAPS will continue to play a prominent role for yourselves as well as for society.

Meanwhile, on behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to wish you and your staff “Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year, 2017”!

President's Message - Sep 2016

We have just celebrated our 59th Merdeka. History tells us that it was the unity of purpose among our leaders, notwithstanding race and religion, that was instrumental in achieving that history.

As we recollect our thoughts on this young association, MAPS, we are reminded that we have come a significant way by unity of purpose in our collective efforts to address needs whether as an association or with other stakeholders such as other industry associations, government agencies and most importantly the general public.

We have managed to

  1. Get zero-rated status in the initial implementation of GST for essential drugs
  2. Get an expanded list of zero-rated scheduled Poisons in the second phase
  3. Appeal to Ministry of Finance for extension of Z labelling to end of the year, instead of mid 2016
  4. Gain in-principle approval for MAPS' Provisionally Registered Pharmacist (PRP) module
  5. Have the joint industries' proposal to run the anti-counterfeiting program to replace hologram presented to MOH
  6. Raise collective disagreement to price control under the Pharmacy Bill (RUUF)
Expanding on the list above, members are advised to take steps to comply with the Z label requirement as soon as possible. The extended deadline is meant for members to have time to get things in order, rather than in a rushed and disorganized manner. Ideally, all your imported products should come with Z label already printed to minimize the cumbersome need for local labelling. Otherwise, local affixing of Z labels or ink-jetting should be worked out, so that all products leaving the warehouse to the trade would comply with the Z label by year-end.

The PRP program, is an opportunity for getting pharmacists who are primed to serve your needs. Previously, most pharmacists coming out to our industry are just clinically inclined and naive to industry practises. They have a steep learning curve to in order to bridge the gap of functioning well. So pharmacists undergoing PRP training in MAPS member companies would be more conversant in handling the complexities of our industry. This improves the productivity of your new recruits significantly.

As you may know the contract for hologram with Meditag is coming to an end next year. Many members and even other association members have been extremely vocal about it. We agree with the MOH that counterfeiting of medicines is not something that can be taken likely, and it is bad for the consumers and us too. As such anti-counterfeiting measures are here to stay. However, the joint industries are the major stakeholders and we have made our proposal to take over the system using an enhanced GS1 system. The objective is to gain control of the cost transparency of the program. The proposal remains under consideration, as we try an address some issues of concern raised by the MOH

We will be having our biennial dinner on 21st October with the theme, "Together for Strength". As outlined above, indeed by working together we can safeguard our interests without compromising on the interests of the regulators and consumers. I encourage all members to come together again this time to make it a succesdful event, to make it yet another night to remember. The organizing committte, under Mathew John is putting together a beautiful event.

It is evident MAPS is surely working for the common good of the Industry, and we can be more effective with better participation. As such, we trust that current members will continue to support both in terms of membership and participation in the programs organised by the association, such as the dinner. Perhaps some readers of this message have yet to be members of MAPS, and would benefit from being members and participating in our programs. We can only become better with more active participation.

President's Message – June 2016

We enter into the month of Ramadhan, with our Muslim members observing a month of fasting, and reflect on things to be thankful for. While those of other faiths may not be observing fast, but perhaps would also reflect on things to be thankful for.

The price of oil has gained, at one point even exceeding USD50 per barrel, and remains stable around the high USD40 range, from the lows of sub-USD30 just a few months back. If prices sustain at this level and continue to move forward, this would be good for our economy and consumer sentiments will improve.

Since my last message, much have happened.

An interest group among MAPS members met on 14th April 2016 in the MAPS Secretariat to draft a PRP(Provisionally Registered Pharmacists) Training Program. Upon approval, this Program will be the template used by participating companies. This PRP program is mutually beneficial to MAPS members who choose to employ such pharmacists, as it reduces the learning curve of the new pharmacists, into fully functional pharmacists specific to your company needs

The MyCC Pharmaceutical Steering Committee Meeting had its first meeting on the 24th April where MAPS was represented to discuss the terms of references for the Pharmaceutical Steering Committee and Pharmaceutical Market Review. The MyCC encourages regulates competition to ensure that there is healthy competition. This steering committee helps enable healthy competition in the pharmaceutical industry.

A Quest 3+ briefing was held on April 24th, and quite a number of participants from MAPS attended the event organised by the BPFK.

Director General of Health, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham chaired the briefing session on the latest development on the Pharmacy Bill (RUUF) on May 9th. Bhg Farmasi presented the decisions of the Minister of Health on various points in the Bill. One matter of concern is price control in the Bill, and the three associations, MAPS together with MOPI and PhAMA will jointly make representations to object this matter with the Ministry.

The very next day MAPS had 7 representative attending Training for Trainers (TOT) -Good Governance for Medicines session organised by the Bahagain Farmasi which involved 3 lectures, followed by discussions and presentations on 10 cases. As good governance is an effective means to prevent leakages and contain costs, members are encouraged to adopt it.

The organizing committee for the biennial dinner has met twice, and we are looking forward to the support of members for this event, as more details will come your way in the next few weeks.

The second Board meeting of the current board will be deliberating on the 9th of June on many matters of concern.

President's Message – Apr 2016

We have just passed one year of the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). While some hiccups were experienced, generally most of us have managed this new tax regime quite well. With the co-operation of various stakeholders comprising from industry, professional and government bodies in appealing to the Finance Minister, the zero-rated products list was expanded to cover all scheduled poisons effective January this year. However, we would like the tax to revert to what was before, ie all medicines, regardless of scheduled poisons or not should be accorded zero-rating. In the coming months, we will work with various stakeholders to further expand this list to include non-scheduled poison medicines.

There is concern from Customs, that despite the removal of GST for scheduled poisons, the prices of these medications remain high. We have been reminded that the removal of tax should be passed on as a benefit to the patients/consumers. I trust that our members have the interest of the patients at heart and have passed on the benefit to the patients.

While we are thankful for the benefit to patients, Customs insisted on the use of suffix Z as a means of educating consumers of the zero-rating status of such products. With regard to suffix Z, some members have raised the question on whether it is necessary to apply for variation of the MAL numbers. In our dialogues with BPFK and BPF, the change will be done unilaterally by the BPFK. However, companies have to ensure that suffix Z be marked on the products, to protect consumer rights, and to pay heed to the deadline of implementing it.

The recovery of oil prices and dovish stance of the US Federal Reserve on interest rate revision has given some respite to the Ringgit exchange rate. By now, most of you would already have known the results of your first quarter. We hope members will continue to manage their businesses well as we weather this rough time together.

As a relatively young association, we are seeing our first transition of leadership with the recently concluded AGM. I would first like to record my thanks to members for the good turnout, in ensuring that the AGM was conducted efficiently. I thank members and the Board for their confidence in me, but more importantly I look forward to the support in ensuring that our common goals be met. I welcome Michael Chow as a new member of the Board of Directors. Most surely, I pay tribute to En Radzmi Rahmat, our past President who has helmed the leadership from the inception of MAPS. Continue to remember him in your prayers.

Finally, it is an impetus for us to enlarge the membership of the Association, as indeed there is strength in numbers, and there are still many companies who have yet to be part of us. We count on our members to work with the Board to increase the membership so that we can be more effective.

LIM TENG CHYUAN

President's Message – Jan 2016

Happy New Year!

As we enter into the new Year, there is a feeling of uncertainty as Malaysia is still burdened with some of the challenges of the previous year with no landing in sight viz the weakening Ringgit, the political dilemma, the plunging price of crude oil, etc

On the global scenario, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its global growth forecasts for the third time in less than a year, as new figures from Beijing showed that the Chinese economy grew at its slowest rate in a quarter of a century in 2015. Global oil markets could “drown in oversupply,” sending prices even lower as demand growth slows and Iran revives exports with the end of sanctions.

The Malaysian Government has announced that it will recalibrate its 2016 Budget on 28th January 2016 to optimise expenditure and reprioritising projects so that they could bring greater benefits to the people.

It had been reported that many Government Hospitals had their “drug budget” reduced by about 30%. This is indeed challenging, not only for the Hospitals to meet their patients’ needs but also for importers, and even local manufacturers, due to the weak Ringgit, had to purchase products at higher prices in foreign currencies, which translate into higher local prices to the hospitals and consumers.

Cost of operations had also “gone up” since 1st April 2015 as a result of GST implementation and a host of other opportunistic increases by Vendors. 2016 will therefore, once again, present great challenges to our members.

Thus, like many other factors contributing to the success of an organisation, productivity and efficiency, with better cost containment and management, are the keys to business sustenance until this present gloomy climate changes for the better.

I believe, with positive attitude and our respective experience we can all be successful, healthy and strong in meeting each of our business objectives in 2016, as in many past years when the economies were facing global challenges as well.

We will be having our 5th AGM on 22nd March 2016. It will be an Election Year for the new Office Bearers. The strength of the Association is as strong as its memberships. I look forward to your attendance and participation.

Members are encouraged to be active in the activities of the Trade and the Association.

Finally, I would like to wish all of you a “Happy Chinese Lunar New Year”. Do take time off to celebrate. Get time to relax and recharge. Come back to “fight” for another year!

President's Message – Dec 2015

Since my last Message, many members have yet to recover to their pre-GST sales level ie 1st April 2015. Within a week or two, many will be closing their financial year, and, it is a big task to many to reach their respective year-end sales targets.

The challenge for many Companies, for the year, is the managing of the weakened Ringgit against the USD. The Ringgit continues to "bug" and adversely affect the cost of imported products. Coupled with this, the increased cost of "doing" business in the Country, in the last few months, adds to the challenge for Companies to remain profitable and sustainable.

At the time of writing this Message, the ringgit fell further to a three-week low as a new China index tracking the yuan against a basket of currencies spurred speculation that the exchange rate will further weaken. The move is expected to put pressure on Asian currencies to depreciate as policymakers bid to keep exports competitive with China by allowing their exchange rates to fall. Meanwhile the greenback is expected to be strengthened amid a looming increase in the US interest rate. The Ringgit also declined as a protracted slump in Brent crude cut government revenue.

Meanwhile, I trust that those of you who had participated in the "Salary & Benefit Survey 2015" had by now received a full 44-page Report, which in my mind, comes at the right moment, as all of us will be reviewing the package for our respective staff for the new Year. For those who had not participated, you will receive an "abridged copy", which I hope you will participate next year. I must thank the Trade Committee for its contribution and great effort.

What will be waiting in 2016?

The Ringgit is expected to remain weak as we move into the new year. Cost must be managed and contained to the best of our ability. Sales revenue, work efficiency and productivity must increase. Businesses must collaborate and meet the challenges together to remain competitive and efficient.

Company leadership needs to be more creative and innovative in their management and business plan. Again, the need to be efficient in the business systems and processes, with high performance team and relevant support infrastructures, must be further developed and put in place.

MAPS will continue to support the interest of its members to ensure that the competitive landscape is fair and equitable to all in the Industry.

In this regards, effective January 2016, all prescribed medicines will be “zero-rated” as a result of the Appeal by the joint effort by all the stakeholders in 2015. There will be many activities and joint activities organised by MAPS and the 3 Trade Associations ie MAPS, MOPI and PhAMA to enhance the skill and knowledge of the manpower of the Industry specifically in the Regulatory environment.

MAPS will continue to engage the Bahagian Farmasi and all stakeholders in the development of the Industry.

Let us continue to work together in 2016. In closing, I wish all of you "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year".

President's Message – May 2015

We are approaching the middle of the Year.

According to the recent economic report, the Country’s real GDP growth registered 5.6% yoy in 1Q15, which is slightly above the market consensus of 5.5%. Growth was mainly supported by household consumption (+8.8%) on the back of pre-GST spending and total investment (+7.9%) as both private and public investment recorded positive growth. Moving forward growth is expected to moderate at 5.0% by year end.

Many of our member Companies had upsurge of sales pre-GST as well. However, the months following in April, and now May, sales slowed. Most expect the sales to “catch-up” when customers begin to replenish their inventories in the next few months.

The implementation of the GST, effective April 1, 2015 was managed well by our members despite some teething issues and challenges. However, these were resolved and hopefully, as the months roll forward, these will be managed professionally as well. I must thank the members for assisting, sharing pointers and information with one another to surmount these issues and challenges.

Currently there are 4600 brand names being “zero-rated”. We now await the decision of the Finance Minister, which is expected to be in Q3, 2015 to give approval for all prescribed medicines to be “zero-rated”. We must thank the Bahagian Farmasi in supporting the Association’s proposal.

Meanwhile, let’s continue to play our role in ensuring that we meet all the requirements for the implementation of “zero-rated” especially the timeline for labelling “z” for all “zero-rated” products.

Whilst writing, I am glad to note that the global crude oil prices had creeped up, and with this, the Malaysian Ringgit will strengthen. In fact, some optimist economists had forecast that the Ringgit against the USD, may be back to its former level by year end albeit any surprise disruption in global and local political development.

I would like to report that our first CEOs’ gathering held on 13th May 2015 was a great success with many desiring to have more regular gatherings, and, inclusion of senior Managers as well. Not only was there good food, there were also opportunities to network, sharing experiences and also mutual learnings in a nice and relax ambience! Well, for those of you who missed out, we look forward to having you in the next.

Once again, as an Industry, let us be reminded that we must not lose focus, but continue to serve by delivering quality, safe and efficacious products at affordable prices to the community that we are in. Keep going and be winners!

Well, until the next write-up, I wish all of you the best for the rest of the year!

President's Message – February 2015

I just remembered ushering in the new Year, 2015 and, at the time of writing, we are now in mid-February.

Many expect the new Year to be challenging as uncertainties abound.

As importers, we are all wary of the weakening Ringgit, and there is no sign of it stabilising, which would definitely affect the cost of goods.

As a responsible Company, I am sure, each of us, would endeavour to ensure that prices of medicines in Malaysia would still be affordable and accessible to all stakeholders.

Implementation of GST is expected to be implemented on 1st April 2015. The Industry's collaborative effort, together with the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society, to appeal to the Finance Ministry to have all pharmaceuticals, "e;zero-rated"e; had not been encouraging. However, we will continue to pursue this Project until all avenues had been exhausted.

The falling global prices of crude oil had definitely not helped Malaysia in its original Budget for 2015. The Prime Minister in January 2015 had recently revised the Budget. The revised GDP for Malaysia is now expected to be between 4.5 to 5.5% which is below the earlier forecast. Thus many analysts expect that the economy and consumer spending are expected to be slow.

Thus, it is good to relook and to enhance our internal systems and processes to be more efficient and productive whilst having an eye on opportunities that are also, I am sure, exist, in the market.

On a final note, do be advised that MAPS will be having its 4th AGM on 19th March 2015 at the Secretariat. I look forward to meeting all of you in the AGM.

Finally, wishing all Malaysians "e;Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year"e;. Do take time to rejoice and wish one another.

President’s Message – December 2014

As the year is fast drawing to a close, I would like to wish all of you a successful achievement of the year-end budget and financial closing.

Reflecting on the past 11.5 months, your Association had also being very hectic with engagements with the Ministry of Health and other relevant stakeholders pertaining to issues and challenges in the healthcare Industry.

One of the highlights of the year would be, after the Joint Memorandum with PhAMA and MOPI, the Minister of Health, had approved the upgrading of BPFK’s Quest 3 IT registration system in October 2014.

Other interesting highlights were the Workshops by the Ministry of Health on “Medicine Pricings & Reimbursements”, “Good Pharmaceutical Trade Practices”, “Guidelines for the Provision of Orphan Drugs”, “Guideline for BE Inspection”, “Analytical Method Validation and Process Validation Seminar”, to name a few, where MAPS had been participating.

There were also various Industrial dialogues with the BPFK and also with the relevant Trade Associations.

The Secretariat had also been actively sending circulars from the BPFK to members on issues relating to product registrations.

There were 2 Talks in 2014 viz: “Contractual Agreements between Principals & Distributors” and “GST – Getting Started”.

MAPS had its 1st Annual Dinner on 31st October 2014. It was very well attended by members.

The Directors of the Board and I, look forward to your continuous support as we continue to serve you in 2015.

Finally, I would like to wish all our Christian members a “Blessed Christmas” and to all “A Happy and Prosperous New Year” as we enter into 2015!

Message from the President, November 2014

As we race into the last Quarter of 2014, and fresh with the memory of the just celebrated MAPS 1st Annual Dinner, 2014 I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you great success in achieving your respective objectives for the Year.

I would also like to thank all CEOs who supported MAPS 1st Annual Dinner on 31st October 2014. It is an auspicious and important milestone for MAPS. Many guests came and the atmosphere for the evening was filled with excitement and rejoicing. Guests were also able to meet up with one another and had the opportunity to exchange greetings and thoughts. Guests were also captivated throughout the evening with dancers performance, 3-piece live Band, Best Dress Awards and an entertaining emcee. Prizes were won and the grand prize was a 42” TV.

All-in-all, it was an overwhelming evening with many compliments and accolades received congratulating the Organising Committee. But for me, it was also the support of you all, who made the evening an awesome success.

For those of you, who had missed out MAPS 1st Annual Dinner, I look forward to having you in the next Dinner.

I am reproducing my Speech herewith for those who had missed out in the Dinner.

“Yang Berusaha Dr Nour Hanah Othman, Timbalan Pengarah Dasar & Pengurusan Farmasi, who represents YB Dato Eisah, Pengarah Kanan Perkhidmatan Farmasi, who is unable to be with us this evening, as she is now in Mecca performing her Haj,

  • Pengarah Regulatori Farmasi, Encik Tan Ann Ling
  • President Elect, Malaysian Medical Association, Dr Ashok Phillip
  • Encik Amrahi Buang, Deputy President of Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS)
  • Encik Abdul Aziz Arshad, President of Cosmetic, Toiletries and Fragrance Association
  • Mr Yew Wei Tarng, President of Pharmaceutical Association of Malaysia (PhAMA)
  • Mr Diong Sing Peng, President of Malaysian Organisation of Pharmaceutical Industries (MOPI)
  • Mr James Pereira, General Manager of Malaysian Dietary Supplement Association (MADSA)
  • and Distinguished Guests
On behalf of the Directors, members and Organising Committee of the Malaysian Association of Pharmaceutical Suppliers (MAPS) we welcome you to MAPS 1st Annual Dinner tonight. MAPS is into its 3rd Year of existence.

I remember that the first gathering of “like-minded” interest Group for the formation of the “Malaysian Association of Pharmaceutical Suppliers (MAPS)” was on 17th March 2011 held in the premise of Medispec, Taman Mayang, Petaling Jaya.

There was an immediate need then and even now, when the Government launched its Transformation Program and identifying the Healthcare as one of its National Key Economic Areas (NKEA).

There was a much needed “gap” to be filled - an Organisation to represent Companies which import medicines from overseas.

These imported medicines played an important role as they offer technology competition, in so doing help to enhance the need to upgrade its technology, by the local manufacturers, as well as in prescription options, competitive pricings and delivery of services and quality, safe and efficacious products.

Malaysia thus has an ideal pharmaceutical Industry where the local, the big and medium size foreign Companies exist together. The Government, prescribers and Rakyat indeed benefits.

The big Pharma boys are being represented by PhAMA and the local manufacturers by MOPI. Thus, with the blessings of the Bahagian Farmasi, the importers met on 17th March 2011 to form MAPS.

MAPS was finally registered as an Association by the Registrar of Society on the 17th November 2011.

PEMANDU was informed subsequently and they readily accepted MAPS as one of the stakeholders in the Industry as they deemed MAPS as filling in the "missing piece" in the trade representation in the Pharmaceutical Industry.

Since then MAPS has been making representations and engaging with the relevant Government bodies like the Bahagian Farmasi, BPFK, PEMANDU, MyCC, etc, on issues and challenges relating to the policy and practice of the pharmaceutical trade.

MAPS, we believe, is in the forefront of issues facing the Industry which means that the voices and interests of MAPS’ members are being heard and considered by the relevant Government and Stakeholders.

Past examples which MAPS participated in are:

  • Review of the First National Medicines Policy or Dasar Ubat Negara and the framing of the second Policy ie National Medicines Policy Ver 2.0
  • The on-going Pricing and Reimbursement Workshops, which we believe, will lead to the long- awaited Dispensing Separation in the transformation of the delivery of Healthcare services to the Rakyat.
  • Guideline for Pharmaceutical Trade Practices (or GPTP)
  • Co-organise Regulatory Workshops with the BPFK and the other stakeholders like PhAMA and MAPS.
  • MAPS was also invited by the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society during its Strategic Meeting from 28th February to 2nd March 2014. Venue: Cyberview Resort & Spa, Cyberjaya, Selangor
There were, and continuing, dialogues with other stakeholders.

Many are not aware of the close collaboration between Bahagian Farmasi, Biro Pengawalan Farmaseutikal Kebangsaan (BPFK) and MAPS on matters pertaining to the issues and challenges in Regulatory and Trade matters.

We are glad that we are able to be recognised, and engaged, by the Government and the other stakeholders in the Pharmaceutical Industry in such short space of time of its formation.

We would like to thank all the stakeholders and the members of MAPS, and would like to assure, that MAPS will continue to play a constructive role in ensuring an equitable, fair, efficient, responsible and accountable delivery of products and services to the Rakyat and Nation.

We have the resource, knowledge and expertise to contribute. Thus, MAPS looks forward, in moving ahead, to be actively engaged with the relevant stakeholders in building and delivery of Healthcare products and services in the immediate, mid and long term.

Lastly as the President and Organising Chairman, I would like to thank all of you for being present here tonight with us to celebrate our 1st Annual Dinner and the “coming anniversary of 3 Years - November 2014, would be 3 years”, celebration.

The Organising Committee, had prepared an evening program of entertainment, which please, sit back, relax, and enjoy.

There will also be “a prize draw” towards the evening. Prizes are electronic gadgets, hotel stay, gift vouchers and a grand prize of a 42” TV.

I would also like to take this opportunity in thanking the Organising Committee for working very hard in making this night a success. Thank you. Last but not least are those companies that had contributed to the table gift for tonight.

In closing, let me thank, once again, Yang Berusaha Dr Nour Hanah Othman and all the guests in celebrating with us tonight. Thank you.”

Message from the President, June 2014

At the time of writing, the World Cup, 2014 in Brazil has reached samba feverish pitch, and this does not seem to abate, with unexpected results with some favourite Countries losing out in the goal scores.

With defending champion, Spain, definitely out of the race, the number 1 position is wide open to many serious and ambitious contenders. May the best team win and the new Champion crowned!

Even for us, we are in the midst of the end of the first half of the year, I would like to wish all members a great score, with many goals scored in your business achievements, when we reached the year end.

In the trade arena, the pharmaceutical Industry is still awaiting for its proposal of "zero-rated" tax for prescription and OTC pharmaceuticals to be approved by the Ministry of Finance and the Royal Custom of Malaysia. In fact, the Ministry of Health, is also working very closely with the Finance Ministry on this matter. With the expected implementation to be on 1st April 2015, it is hoped that decision will be made soon.

Meanwhile, companies are being advised to prepare for the implementation as GST will also affect other products other than the prescription and OTC pharmaceuticals.

The Ministry of Health, under the Bahagian Farmasi, intends to introduce a guideline, known as "Good Pharmaceutical Trading Practice (GPTP)". This will be a guideline, as its name implies, for the Industry. All stakeholders had given their respective input, with the Industry players, urging for "free market forces", and not control measures by the Government, in order to encourage and nurture a healthy competitive, economically viable, productive and efficient market in the delivery of healthcare products and services to the Rakyat.

The GPTP will be expected to be "rolled out" in 2014.

Malaysia is the Chair for ASEAN Consultative Committee for Standards and Quality – Pharmaceutical Product Working Group (ACCSQ-PPWG). It held its 21st Meeting in Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa on 17-19th June 2014. The objective of the ACCSQ-PPWG is to harmonise Registration Regulations in order to allow for free movements of resources and products across the ASEAN geographies etc. The year to achieve this is 2015 ie next year. It is hoped that this ambitious target year will be achieved as there seemed to be much work that have yet to be done.

MAPS's members also contributed to the organisation and participation of the ACCSQ-PPWG.

MAPS 1st Annual Dinner is now confirmed to be on 31st October 2014 at the Holiday Inn Glenmarie, Shah Alam. Programs are being planned and the Organising Committee has promised an entertaining evening. Thus, the Board of Directors, look forward to your participation with each member Company purchasing, at least, a table each.

I would also like to wish all our muslim brethren a great religious celebration as we enter the month of Ramadan by the end of this month

Message from the President, April 2014

We had just concluded the 3rd Annual General Meeting held on 20th March 2014.

I would like to thank members who came for the Meeting and their active participations in the election of the new Board of Directors, 2014/2016 and the discussions in the various Reports and issues brought forward.

At this juncture, I would like to congratulate and welcome the new Board of Directors and, in the same breath, for members continuous encouragement and support.

Moving forward, members continuous active engagement in the various activities of the Association as well as the issues and challenges of the Trade are strongly needed to ensure level playing field for all stakeholders in the Industry.

In general, our members' business model is that of representing foreign quality partners through product and technical importations right through the distribution value chain encompassing product registrations, selling, marketing, warehousing, invoicing and distribution. Thus, it is important that members are always having the capacity in building and making available special skill sets, knowledge, support and resource structures in delivering results and success in the business partnership.

The Association is cognizant of its responsibility and thus one of the KPIs of the Association is to organise Talks for members to learn and upgrade its know-how and expertise eg: a recent Talk on "Contractual Arrangement between Principals & Distributors" was held on 27th March 2014 and another will be held on "Understanding GST" on 21st April 2014.

Members were also briefed on the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 during the recent AGM and the Talk on 27th March 2014.

In addition, as importers, members need to be competitive not only in product quality and pricing but also in quality, service and logistic efficiency whilst complying with the various legislations that are in place governing the pharmaceutical environment.

Therefore, members need to continue to play their role in delivering quality, safe, efficacious products to the Rakyat at affordable prices and in a timely manner.

In closing, let us be always conscious in contributing and building a healthy Pharmaceutical Industry for the Rakyat and Nation.


Message from the President, January 2014

How swift the time flies and we are now in mid-January 2014.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our members and friends, “Happy Chinese Lunar New Year and Gong Xi Fatt Chai”!

May the Horse usher in a great and successful year for us all and, I was told, that the horse is not only a symbol of travelling, but also a sign of speedy success. So, let us put on our relevant gears and gallop into speedy success.

For the Association, 2014 will be a year where members elect a new Board to manage its business. Thus, I would urge all of you to be present, not only to receive the Annual Report for 2013 and deliberations on the Industry, but also to elect Board Directors who can aggressively represent your interests.

The Annual General Meeting will be held on 20th March 2014 @ 1:00 pm in the MAPS Secretariat. I look forward to your presence and your active participation in the Meeting.

On the matter of costs, where the Government has reduced subsidy for sugar, tariff increase in electricity and a host of others like petrol beginning 2014, and the impending road tolls hike etc, indeed demand that the consumers and Industry have to be more innovative and creative in managing these challenges.

Thus, it would be inevitable, that the Industry in order to remain viable and competitive has to manage costs effectively, improve efficiency and productivity to achieve a lower unit cost and to explore new markets and/or products to increase revenues. These are not exhaustive but some of the means to remain sustainable. I am confident that all our members will come out stronger from these challenges!

In closing, I wish all of you once again, a successful 2014!

Message from the President, December 2013

According to the Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah, as reported on 10th December 2013, Malaysia’s strong economic and financial situation has been ratified by the World Bank’s "Doing Business 2014" report and international ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service.

In the "Doing Business 2014" report, the country jumped to sixth spot from 12th position in 2013. In November, Moody upgraded Malaysia’s sovereign credit outlook to “positive” from “stable”.

Thus, 2014 is expected to be a better global economy, with Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) projected to grow by 5% to 5.5%, from 4.5% to 5% in 2013. The Government’s deficit will continue to decline to 3.5% of GDP in 2014, from 4% in 2013.

Thus, as the horse gallops into 2014, we can look forward to a more robust economy. The horse, under the Chinese zodiac, is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. May the year indeed delivers successes to us all.

The transformation of the Pharmaceutical market, driven by the Government, is still in progress and MAPS will continue to ensure that, whilst the Government moves into Policy, Regulatory and Enforcement roles, the trade must continue to be able to practise and compete through market forces where competition is driven by quality product, safety, efficacy through free enterprise and market efficiency.

On another note, MAPS had just recently sent to members the "Salary & Benefits Survey - 2013 Report". For those who had participated, a full Report would be received by them. However, for those, who had not, an "Abbreviated Report" will be also sent. It is my desire that all members would participate in future Surveys.

Finally, I would like to wish all of you a successful closure for the year, 2013 and a great year for 2014.

Meanwhile, wishing all of you, especially our Christian colleagues and friends, a "Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year, 2014".

Message from the President October 2013

On 2nd November, 2013, the Country will celebrate another important festive occasion, Deepavali, which is a testimony to Malaysia’s stable, peaceful and happy multicultural society. I would like to wish all our friends, especially our Indian brethren, “Happy Deepavali” and may we all rejoice and celebrate this together.

We are also entering the 4th and last Quarter of the Year. Some may have already reached their respective budget or on the way to reach the budget. I wish all of you the very best in achieving your respective budgets and goals.

MAPS was invited to participate in the National Medicines Policy (NMP), 2nd Edition (2013-2017), or DUNas (Dasar Ubat Negara) by the Ministry of Health on 24th to 27th September 2013 in Port Dickson. There were 5 components to this NMP, which is a continuation of the NMP, 1st Edition (2008-2012) viz: 1) Governance in Medicines 2) Quality, Safety and Efficacy of Medicines 3) Access & Affordability of Medicines 4) Quality Use of Medicines 5) Partnership and Collaboration for the Healthcare Industry.

Briefly, the main thrust of the NMP is to ensure basic quality, safety and efficacious medicines are accessible and affordable to all. Consumers will also be empowered to make informed choices on medicines. With the Policy of the Government to increase generic prescribing and consumption, the Ministry of Health is driving for the development and growth of domestic generic medicines. This Policy is no different from other developed countries like the US, Australia and the United Kingdom.

In meeting the challenges of domestic generics, imported generics, that is, MAPS members have to be more competitive, strategic and agile. There must be a cohesive, coherent and united stand by MAPS members to continue to defend and grow the market.

You could also visit the Bahagian Farmasi’s website for more information on NMP 1st Edition. The 2nd Edition has yet to be approved by the Cabinet. Once approved, it will be expected to be uploaded to the site.

The other issue that MAPS members should be aware of is the TPPA (Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement). TPPA is a multilateral free trade agreement currently being negotiated by 12 countries, led by the US. Malaysia is one of the negotiating Parties. The area of concern for MAPS is the threat for the possible extension of the product patency and introduction of tariffs that might further delay the patent expiry.

The US is looking forward to the TPPA to be signed by all negotiating countries by end December 2013, if not earliest. The good news is that Malaysia is aware of the threat of patent extension and is resisting this particular clause in the Agreement.

Your Board of Directors will continue to be vigilant and will carry out its responsibility in the interest of the members.

Message from the President August 2013

We will be celebrating the Hari Raya Aidilfitri in about a week’s time. I would like to wish all our friends, especially our Muslim brethren, “Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri”.

It is the time to seek forgiveness for the wrongs that we have done to others and also the time to renew and strengthen relationship. May Allah be merciful and fills us with His grace that we continue to learn and walk with Him for His glory.

At this juncture, let us as an Association continue to ensure that we source, import and deliver quality, safe and efficacious products, at affordable prices to the community in which we serve. Let us practise “Good Corporate Governance” and embrace “Corporate Social Responsibility” as well in order to exist as a responsible and good corporate citizens.

Since my last message, MAPS had attended a mini-lab for NKEA: Healthcare EPP3, driven by PEMANDU on 4-6th June 2013. The scope of the Lab was to review the existing ETP Roadmap for the pharmaceutical industry. The scope of the NKEA: EPP3 was expanded to include Biologics, OTC and Generics. The strategic directions for the Lab were to explore on export opportunities, self-sufficiency and opportunities for sustainability. Once the strategies are finalised a full report, MY Pharma 2.0, will be shared with the stakeholders.

The participants were Bahagian Farmasi, NPCB, CRC, Biotech Corp, MITI, MIDA, Ministry of Finance, Universities, Bankers and the Industry stakeholders.

Meanwhile, for the economy, the Government does not foresee any deviation from its earlier set GDP growth of 5% to 6% by the year end.

The Association is also in the midst of organising its “First Dinner and Dance” on 18th October 2013 at Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur, Shah Alam, Selangor. We look forward to your support to ensure the success of the Event. More details will be forthcoming once the details are in place.

I look forward to your continuous support and active participation in the Industry.

Wishing you all once again “Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri”.

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Message from the President June 2013…

The new Cabinet has been announced. The Country is expected to be back to business after many months of uncertainties prior to GE13.

We welcome the appointment of YB DATO’ SERI SUBRAMANIAM as the Health Minister and YB DATO’ SERI HILMI BIN YAHAYA as the deputy Minister. We look forward to working with both Ministers to ensure that the Healthcare Industry will continue to deliver quality, affordable and equitable healthcare to all. The Central Bank recently announced a 4.1% GDP expansion in the first quarter of the year against the backdrop of a weaker global environment. It was weaker compared with 5.1% in the same quarter last year and 6.5% in the preceding quarter. However, Malaysia's growth prospects remain bright, especially in the second-half of the year, driven by projects identified by the Government. With the GE 13 over, we expect an acceleration of the various projects being implemented for the second half, in particular, GDP will increase with more significant traction. The Government expects 5% to 6% GDP growth by the end of the year.

On the Industry, we would expect the Bahagian Farmasi to continue driving the prescribing and use of generics to patients, encouraging domestic companies to increase exports and moving up the value chain in super generics manufacturing and R&D, NHS, product pricing, dispensing separation, developing Malaysia as a pharmaceutical halal hub to name a few. We are thankful that the Bahagian Farmasi continues to engage MAPS in matters pertaining to the regulatory requirements of the quality, safety and efficacy of the products, whether domestically produced or imported, to safeguard the health and interest of the Rakyat.

In this regard, we would like to congratulate the Bahagian Farmasi for having successfully organised the National Regulatory Conference 2013, KL from 7th to 9th May 2013. MAPS is glad to collaborate with the Bahagian Farmasi in this Conference. The Social and Sports Committee, under the leadership of Mr Mathew John is organising MAPS first ever Annual Dinner & Dance in September. Once the venue and date have been confirmed, we look forward to your support to ensure the success of the 1st Annual D&D.

Meanwhile, I wish you successful and profitable months ahead.

Message from the President Jan 2013

We bade 2012 farewell recently and now we are in the second month of 2013! Time flies …

Looking back, 2012 has not been the best of year for the global economy as the continuation of the European financial crisis has weighed down the major economies of the world. In Japan, the rising value of the yen is bad for the export market as it made the Japanese goods less attractive in overseas markets. China’s economy is also been affected by exports due to weaker demand from Europe.

However there are favourable forecast for South East Asia economies as the expected combined growth rate of 5.5% up from 4.6% the previous year.

In Malaysia, due to the Government’s implementation of its Transformation Programmes through the GTP and ETP, the Government has forecast growth of between 4.5% to 5.5% in 2013. This forecast is also aligned to the Asian Development Bank’s projection for Malaysia’s GDP as rising by 5%.

In the Healthcare sector, the MOH will be expected to continue to drive the local pharmaceutical Industry up the value chain and to encourage exports. Generics prescriptions and utilisation are expected to aggressively increase in market share. Various policies and legislations, like the Halal labelling for OTC/Health supplements, the new Pharmacy Act 2012 will be expected to be gazetted in 2013, “price control for pharmaceuticals”, “separation dispensing rights for Pharmacists” will also be agents of change for the market behaviour and practices.

The ageing population and the cost of healthcare will definitely rise as the Government continues to take proactive measures to contain cost and meet rising demands.

Health tourisms will also be expected to grow as the economics of hospitality and travelling sectors are within reach of the average pockets of the individuals.

The MOH will continue to engage the various stakeholders in dialogues and working groups to ensure that the EPP3 for pharmaceuticals, under the ETP, will be achieved if not surpassed. Meanwhile, as an Association representing the Importers, it is important that the Association remains healthy and strong. We must be actively engaged in the various stakeholders’ meetings, dialogues and working groups as the Healthcare is undergoing transformation and NOT gradual growth and development. I would like to thank all of you for your strong support in 2012 and nothing less, if not more is expected, in 2013. Meanwhile, wishing all of you a Blessed and Successful New Year .

 

Radzmi Rahmat

President (2012 - March 2016)