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KUALA LUMPUR: The MP for Seputeh, Teresa Kok, today took the authorities to task for allegedly telling Oratis Services Sdn Bhd to stop all supplies of medicine and medical equipment to pensioners effective Feb 28.

She said heads must roll for the “mess” that has resulted from this decision.

The DAP national vice-chairperson said it was highly irresponsible for the Public Services Commission (JPA) to order its third-party intermediary, Oratis Services Sdn Bhd, to stop supplying medicine and medical equipment to pensioners without giving prior notice to the pensioners.

Pensioners should also have been informed how and where they could continue to get their necessary medicine, she added.

She said this in response to a comment piece in FMT saying pensioners were in the dark about the sudden decision by the JPA to instruct the company it had appointed to stop supplying medicine to pensioners from Feb 28.

Kok said in a statement: “This is an issue which involves medication required daily by patients. It is, therefore, unbelievable that JPA could make such a decision without taking into consideration the impact of the decision.

“What is the cause for this sudden stop-supply order? Is it possible that JPA cannot afford to pay the cost anymore and does not intend to continue to bear the pensioners’ medical costs? Or is it because JPA has decided to terminate Oratis’s contract? If that is so, why has not JPA announced the name of the new intermediary? Or if JPA has got a new system for pensioners to continue to obtain their medicine, why has it kept silent about it?”

Calling on the JPA director-general to explain the situation, Kok said there could be no justification for such an “irresponsible and inhumane decision”.

In the comment piece, P Ramakrishnan, an Aliran executive committee member, said before Oratis had come into the picture, pensioners collected their supply of medicine from the hospital pharmacy.

If a certain medicine was not available at the hospital pharmacy, the patient could buy it at a private pharmacy, with the approval of a government hospital specialist, and claim the cost of medicine from the JPA.

“Then in 2012, the JPA introduced this new system by appointing Oratis to provide the medicines that were not available at the government hospitals. At the initial stages, we had to fax the prescription to Oratis in KL who would then call us to confirm that they had received the prescription and inform us that the medicine would be sent to us by PosLaju which was done subsequently.

“Later, pharmacies were required to register with Oratis which simplified matters. All that the pensioner had to do was to present to the pharmacy the authorised form signed by the specialist together with the prescription and collect the medicine. It made things easier for pensioners.”

However, the JPA had now ordered Oratis to cease supplying the medicine to pensioners, he claimed.

“To make matters worse, pensioners have not been told how they are going to have access to their much-needed medicine from now onwards,” added Ramakrishnan.

The JPA has yet to deny or explain this.

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