MADSA Advises Government to Help Malaysians Practice More Preventive Care
Khazah Research Institute's recent launch of their research into health inequalities in Malaysia indicates that there should be an increase in preventive care spending. This can be additional spending by the public sector or even by the individual. MADSA proposes 3 strategies for the Malaysian Government to implement in order to boost the nutritional status of citizens of the country.
During the launch, the Chairman of KRI, Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, pleaded for an increased spending on preventive measures, in the private and public health sectors from the current paltry 6.2% or a RM 3.7 billion.
Although everyone is familiar with the idiom, Prevention Is Better Than Cure, very few Malaysians practice it.
Many diseases and conditions arise from poor nutrition, including ischemic heart diseases, diabetes and certain cancers.
Muthu Kumar Shanmunghom, President of the Malaysian Dietary Supplement Association (MADSA) highlighted the Association always advocates highly nutritious food as the preeminent method to prevent many non-communicable diseases and some infectious diseases as well.
The Association also recommends that people with poor nutrition habits should use health supplements to raise their nutrition intake to optimum levels.
The Ministry of Health acknowledges the use of glucosamine + chondroitin to treat osteoarthritis and calcium + vitamin D to treat osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
If the Malaysian public practice the philosophy of prevention-is-better-than-cure, they should make sure they increase intake of health promoting micro-nutrients. A higher calcium and vitamin D level in the body can prevent or reduce the risk of suffering from osteoporosis and arthritis.
Malaysians today are generally not consuming optimum nutrient levels because of bad eating habits and a growing sedentary lifestyle. They most cost-effective way to ensure sufficient micro-nutrients in the body is to use of dietary supplements.
Data from a market research commissioned by the Association, Malaysian Dietary Supplement Industry Status & Trends 2019-2020 Report, showed that only 30% of Malaysians consume dietary supplements. In Australia, South Korea and the US, the number of supplements users is around 70%.
When more Malaysians improve their nutritional status via nutritious food and/or supplements, their individual health improves and the government would greatly benefit from a rise in productivity and reduction in health expenditure which release needful resources to be channelled to advance nation building initiatives.
It’s cheaper to eat low nutrition food rather than highly nutritious food or take supplements, but it’s being penny wise and pound foolish. Saving money on nutrition today will lead to deficiencies in the future that will lead to diseases that will cost more when the person lands in hospital or needs expensive drugs for treatment.
MADSA proposes to the Government to undertake the following strategies to increase preventive investment:
1. Remove import duties on all supplements that are used for treatment of diseases, i.e., glucosamine and chondroitin, calcium & vitamin D as well as supplements used to prevent nutrient deficiencies.
2. Remove sales tax and any future GST to encourage Malaysians to improve their health via better nutrition status.
3. Include all supplements into the Lifestyle Tax Rebate category to incentivise Malaysians to be healthier. Healthier Malaysians will visit hospitals less frequently and save the government a huge amount of health expenditure.
The amount of revenue the Government forgoes from these duties and taxes is miniscule compared to the savings in the health budget. It will be similar to losing 10 sen in tax revenue but gaining RM 10 in reduced health budget expenditure.
The President and Council of MADSA look forward to engaging the relevant Government agencies to improve the health of all Malaysians.
The Malaysian Dietary Supplement Association was created in 2003 with the aim of advancing the interests of the dietary supplements industry in Malaysia. It also pursues awareness of the public on the health benefits of supplements. Its members consist of local and foreign manufacturers and marketers.