KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 – Random checks conducted by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to take stock of the country’s drug supplies found that 85 per cent of private health facilities are facing a shortage of at least one medicine.
MOH’s random checks involve 47 private health facilities in total, including seven private hospitals, 10 private health clinics, and 30 community pharmacies nationwide.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said supply shortages are mostly affecting medications for cough and flu, fever, as well as antibiotics for children.
“As of June 16, 2022, we have sent inquiries on 36 active ingredients (involving 1,231 products) to product registration holders, on their availability.
“We’ve so far received feedback on 50 per cent of the products from product registration holders and the (list of) items that are facing shortages with alternative products have been forwarded to various medical groups so that they can acquire alternative medicines,” Khairy told a media briefing following an engagement session with hospital directors at the Hospital Directors Conference in Petaling Jaya today.
The list of products affected by shortages with alternatives will be updated from time to time – likely on a weekly basis – depending on the situation.
Khairy reiterated his announcement last week, saying that private health care facilities can request to borrow medicine supplies from the nearest public health care facility. The MOH has also issued a guideline last week to streamline the process for government health care facilities to loan medicine supplies to private clinics or hospitals.
“However, I expect the situation to stabilise within the next month or so,” Khairy said.
The current bout of drug shortages in Malaysia, attributed to a sudden surge in demand and global supply chain disruptions, has had a disproportionate impact on medicines and health care facilities across the country.
CodeBlue previously reported pharmacists as saying that the current situation has reached a “worrying level”, with longer shipment delays and frequent medicine borrowing from nearby health care facilities.
Khairy said the MOH will continue to monitor the situation based on feedback on active ingredients and products from health care facilities and the pharmaceutical industry.