New Immunization Rules

Regulation prohibits direct purchase of vaccines by private doctors

By Karmila Bain
Monday, January 29, 2018

AmCham Indonesia’s Pharma and Life Sciences Committee has added Minister of Health Regulation No. 12/2017 on the implementation of immunization to its 2018 advocacy agenda.

Article 38 of the regulation prohibits private practices from directly purchasing vaccines from manufacturers. Doctors can now only obtain vaccines from licensed pharmacies under the regulation, which came into force on April 11, 2017.

Stakeholders say that what this means in reality is that often less effective locally manufactured generic vaccines and drugs are being supplied to pharmacies, rather than some imported more effective originals, creating a serious health risk for many Indonesian patients

Under Law Number 36/2009 on health, immunization to prevent infectious disease is one of the priorities of the Ministry of Health as part of the government’s commitment to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially in reducing child mortality

Regulation 12/2017, which replaced Regulation 42/2013, was a direct response to the fake vaccine scandal of 2016, where it was revealed that a long term drug ring had been supplying doctors with what was said to be imported GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi vaccines that turned out to be fakes. As a result, the Ministry of Health decided that drug companies had to supply pharmacies with the medication, and the pharmacies would in turn supply the doctors.

The law has also created drug distribution problems from doctors to patients, and is said to be contrary to Law 29/2004 on medical practices, which gave private practices the authority to store drugs in the quantity and type permitted, and to dispense and handle medicines in areas where there is no pharmacy.

Stakeholders also say the 2017 regulation is too general, and does not differentiate between vaccines and other drugs and medicines.

“This prevents us from supplying the best vaccines to our patients,” said one private practitioner. “It is a disservice to them.”

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