Medicine shortage: Private hospitals, clinics can borrow from private, govt facilities

A file photo of medicines. Photo credit: Pixabay

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KUCHING, June 14: Private hospitals and clinics can borrow medical supplies from other private or government health facilities to overcome their shortages in times of emergency, crisis and disaster.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said this was part of several measures taken by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to provide a temporary solution to the shortage of medicines affecting some private health facilities including community pharmacies in the country.

“Private healthcare facilities can apply for a loan of medicine supplies from other private healthcare facilities or the nearest government health facilities.

“Government health facilities can consider lending supplies of medicines for use during emergencies, crises and disasters by ensuring in advance the availability and balance of sufficient medicine stocks for the daily activities of the government health facilities,” he said in a statement yesterday (June 13).

If necessary, Khairy said that patients could also be referred to the nearest government health facility to continue treatment.

However, the patient may also need to change their respective medication regimen based on the availability at the said facility.

“Patients can also buy the medicines from community pharmacies with a prescription from the clinic or private hospital involved,” he added.

This came following a news report by CodeBlue highlighting that the two-month lockdown in Shanghai, China, and the Russia-Ukraine war have sparked major shortages of various prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications in Malaysia, including syrups for children and treatments for chronic conditions, say pharmaceutical suppliers, doctors, and pharmacists.

Khairy hopes that these measures can provide a temporary solution to the shortage of medicine supplies at private health facilities to ensure the continuity of quality healthcare services to the people.

At the same time, MOH had also started sharing information on the list of medicines that are facing shortages and recommendations of alternative medicine products with private medical practitioners, private hospitals and community pharmacies.

“This list will be updated from time to time. This step is taken to reduce the impact on the current situation and to ensure optimal use of other generic drugs as alternatives, which still have a supply in the market.

“The MOH is working on a long-term solution to address this issue and continuous monitoring is being carried out to ensure the availability of medicines throughout Malaysia,” he added. — DayakDaily