EXISTING older drugs remain indispensable, even as new medicines and treatment methods come up. And these trusted medicines can only get cheaper with time.
That people can better afford established drugs is vital, considering they remain the backbone of treatment such as chemotherapy, said Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Wednesday.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 14th International Conference of Drug Regulatory Authorities (ICDRA), Mr Khaw explained the expiry of patents allows medicines to be manufactured and sold as cheaper generic drugs.
'As someone with heart disease, I have seen how my anti-cholesterol drug prices have come down rapidly over the years. That has saved millions of heart patients millions of dollars worldwide,' he said.
He added that new drugs, therapies and screening tests are not always more cost-effective than existing ones.
'Their benefits in terms of improvements in health outcomes can be modest in relation to the heavy accompanying price tag,' he said.
'Older drugs indispensable'