June 8, 2022
KUALA LUMPUR – While pharmacies and private clinics are experiencing a “slight shortage” of some types of medicines, Malaysia’s public health facilities have ample stock, says Khairy Jamaluddin.
However, to ensure supply is not disrupted, the Health Ministry “will explore new sources for medicine supply”, including from countries we have not bought from previously, the minister said after attending the World Food Safety Day here yesterday.
Khairy has also directed the ministry’s pharmaceutical services division to work closely with local industry players to further develop the supply chain to deal with future disruptions.
“For public hospitals, we will continue to monitor our central contracts to ensure stock levels for medicines at our facilities are sufficient.
Khairy said the pharmaceutical services division held an engagement session with industry players on June 2 to look into the medicine shortage issue. A list of medicine said to be lacking in the market was presented at the meeting, including medications for colds, coughs, the flu, fever and diarrhoea, as well as vitamins and antibiotics.
The minister also said stronger collaboration with local pharmaceutical companies would include looking into the need for raw materials, aside from finished medicinal products.
The industry had reported that a shortage in raw materials has contributed to the supply disruption.There was also an increase in demand when there were more cases due to the Omicron variant and people began stocking up on more medicines than they needed.
Also contributing to the shortage is the fact that more countries are emerging from lockdowns and resuming economic activities, noted Malaysian Medical Association president Dr Koh Kar Chai.
He advised the public not to panic buy and unnecessarily hoard medications which are not immediately needed.
Health Ministry pharmacy services senior director Norhaliza A. Halim said there is no overall supply shortage of pharmaceutical products and that manufacturers have also increased production capacity to meet higher demand.