Drugs which are proven to be of significant clinical benefits but are very expensive for HA to provide as part of its standard services are not covered by the standard fees and charges in public hospitals and clinics. Patients who require these drugs and can afford the costs have to purchase the drugs at their own expense. However, HA provides a safety net through the Samaritan Fund and the Community Care Fund Medical Assistance Programme to subsidise the drug expenses of patients who have financial difficulties.
Samaritan Fund (SF) provides financial assistance for needy patients who meet specified clinical criteria and pass the means test to meet expenses for designated new technologies required in the course of medical treatment which are not covered by the standard fees and charges in public hospitals and clinics.
The Community Care Fund Medical Assistance Programme provides financial assistance for patients to purchase specified self-financed cancer drugs which have not been covered by the Samaritan Fund but have been rapidly accumulating medical scientific evidence and with relatively higher efficacy.
HA reviews the need for expanding the safety net twice yearly to cover additional self-financed drugs, relaxing the prescribing indications for existing Safety Net drugs and repositioning drugs covered by the Community Care Fund Medical Assistance Programme to be under the coverage of the Samaritan Fund.