Medicines expenditure reaches €48 million in 2013

Over €48 million spent on the procurement of medicines in 2013, with almost half the sum going to medicines used at Mater Dei hospital.

Medicine procurement has cost the taxpayer over €48 million in 2013 alone, health minister Godfrey Farrugia said.

In reply to a parliamentary question by opposition MP Claudio Grech, the minister explained that the government expenditure on medicines last year reached €48 million.

€21.8 million were spent on medicines procured by Mater Dei Hospital, while €15.6 million went to medicines distributed through the Pharmacy of Your Choice (POYC) scheme.

The POYC Unit has a Stock List of around 700 pharmaceutical items and, to date, there are over 115,800 registered patients benefitting from the POYC Scheme.

Medicines procured by the oncology centre at Boffa Hospital in Floriana reached €4.3 million, while €2.8 million went to primary health care centres.

The procurement and distribution of medicines is one of the key issues which will be addressed by the parliamentary committee on health.

For years, the procurement of medicines and out of stock items have been at the centre of political controversies, Moreover, last year, the government published a white paper on medicines for public consultation.