SINGAPORE - We thank Mr Freddy Chuang for his feedback on the affordability of managing chronic hepatitis B ("Include hepatitis B on Medisave's chronic diseases list"; June 18).
The use of Medisave is carefully assessed to ensure that Singaporeans have sufficient savings for their health-care needs, including post-retirement expenditure. The rate of chronic hepatitis B infection is relatively low in Singapore, in large measure due to vaccination under the National Childhood Immunisation Programme.
Nonetheless, we are committed to helping hepatitis B patients afford the treatment required.
Government subsidies are available to subsidised patients for their hepatitis B treatment at public hospitals' specialist outpatient clinics.
There are also subsidised drugs under the Standard Drug List to treat this condition.
Subsidised patients who require more expensive drugs can seek assistance of up to 75 per cent subsidy under the Medication Assistance Fund. Private patients like Mr Chuang will experience higher bills.
We encourage patients facing financial difficulties to approach a medical social worker to explore assistance options.
Bey Mui Leng (Ms)
Director, Corporate Communications
Ministry of Health
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