Build Sustainable Solutions For Medicine Shortages – Malaysian Health Coalition

The Malaysian Health Coalition urges the government to take immediate short-term and long-term actions to ensure the sustainability of the medicine supply.

The Malaysian Health Coalition is concerned about the news of medicine shortages in Malaysia, which have affected both the public and private sectors.

These medicines are used to treat many common diseases, and a shortage could negatively impact the quality of care provided to the rakyat

We urge the following:

Streamline Approval Process For Alternate Purchases And Medicines Requiring Special Authorisation In Health Ministry Facilities

Malaysia procures medicines from alternate suppliers, or with special authorisation from the health director-general or the senior director of pharmaceutical services in two situations: when original suppliers cannot fulfil the orders, or when medicines are not listed in the Ministry of Health (MOH) Medicines Formulary.

Alternate suppliers and special authorisation are necessary during shortages. Therefore, the approval process for these regulations should be streamlined to improve efficiency and reduce the waiting period for decisions.

This is important during medicine shortages, especially during an ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Strengthen Local Manufacturing Capacity For Medicines

Currently, Malaysia is a net importer of pharmaceutical products in three categories: finished pharmaceutical products, active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), and pharmaceutical intermediates for local manufacturing.

Consequently, the supplies of pharmaceutical products are impacted following supply chain disruptions such as the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War and lockdowns in China.

Therefore, we must strengthen the local capacity of pharmaceutical goods manufacturing to minimise any impact from future disruptions. This must be accompanied by Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) to ensure all locally manufactured medicines meet the required standards of safety, quality, and efficacy, in line with the Malaysian National Medicines Policy.

The government must provide a favourable policy, tax, and regulatory climate for private sector investment in this sector.

Strengthen Collaboration Between Public And Private Sectors Through Medicine Stock Loans And Medicine Utilisation Data-Sharing

The MOH’s swift action in assisting private health care facilities through medicine stock loans from public health care facilities is commendable.

Collaboration between the public and private sectors should be promoted to improve health care delivery to patients. These collaborations need transparent data-sharing, especially on prices and medicine utilisation.

The MOH must lead and coordinate the medicine utilisation data collection process to improve current medicine procurement strategies and prioritise distribution of medicines to facilities with higher demands.

We urge the government to take immediate short-term and long-term actions to ensure the sustainability of the medicine supply. This is crucial to ensure the health of the rakyat.

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