Formula supply ensured
January 26, 2013
Secretary for Food & Health Dr Ko Wing-man says he believes the infant formula supply is adequate to meet seasonal fluctuations and cross-boundary demand, adding he will not ask that consumers provide a birth certificate when purchasing milk powder.
Speaking after attending a radio programme today, Dr Ko said the local supply of infant formula is adequate, and suppliers have also resorted to different channels to assure their supply is and will be adequate. This includes providing hotlines for local parents to order formula, and free delivery.
As the supply is adequate, Dr Ko said rationing would be an extreme measure, and that it would be a nuisance to ask people to produce a birth certificate to buy formula.
“We are aware that a slightly different arrangement was in place to address the supply problem of infant formula in Macau. Having considered the difference between Hong Kong and Macau, particularly in terms of market size, our meeting with major infant formula suppliers yesterday had reached a consensus that the measures announced last evening would be the right ones that we would like to adopt for the time being,” he said.
He said the Government will not rule out taking further measures to address the problem.
On the radio programme, Dr Ko said the Government plans to put forward a health protection scheme proposal this year, to regulate the medical insurance market. Government monitoring and an arbitration mechanism will be suggested, he said.
Tax breaks will be considered to encourage the middle class to purchase health insurance, he said, but he disagrees with using public money to subsidise patients to buy insurance. He said the public will be consulted and legislation is expected to be made within two to three years.
Dr Ko said the Hospital Authority will upload the waiting time for specialist out-patient clinics on its website, and help patients to receive faster treatment through internal referral.