KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 — Private hospitals were seeing the same shortages of commonly used medicines as public hospitals but have enough supply of drugs needed for critical illnesses and conditions, said an industry group.
Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh also said the issue was not systemic and did not affect all types of medicines.
“The Covid pandemic and the recent hand foot mouth disease (HFMD) have caused a little shortage on sudden medications for flu and cough and maybe fever.
“Most private hospitals have resorted to alternatives like generics to the usual brands that is prescribed hence the current shortages are manageable,” he said in a statement.
He explained that private hospitals have a system to calculate the demand of medication during different months of the year and with the possibility of increase of upper respiratory tract infection in certain times of the year, especially during school days.
He said private hospitals have recently noticed a low supply of paediatric medications, which may be due to higher numbers of young patients as schools and social interactions are allowed hence resulting higher communicable diseases.
“In view of the sudden demand for paediatric medication, private hospitals have increased their orders from the resources.
“Placing orders and storage of medications will be done accordingly without any wastage or over supplying to the hospital pharmacy as all medications have shelf life and unsold medication will results financial loss,” he said.
Kuljit also said that reason given by suppliers on the medication shortage was due to lack of raw material, the war in Ukraine and recent lockdowns in China.
“However, we believe this is very temporary and the situation will get better in a few weeks,” he said.
“Should the need arise in emergency conditions, private hospitals work very seamlessly between hospitals to assist each other to treat patients with the appropriate medication without any hassle or difficulty,” he added.
Yesterday, Health Ministry’s (MoH) senior director of Pharmaceutical Services Norhaliza A. Halim said Malaysia’s supply of pharmaceutical products was adequate and capable of meeting the surge in demand due to HFMD cases.
Responding to reports on the shortages involving medicines used for HFMD and others used for common ailments, Norhaliza said any apparent shortage was limited to specific brands rather than categories of medication.
She said the ministry met with pharmaceutical industry players such as Malaysian Organisation of Pharmaceutical Industries (MOPI), Pharmaceutical Association of Malaysia (PhAMA) and Malaysian Association of Pharmaceutical Suppliers (MAPS) through the Pharmaceutical Services Programme.
The feedback received indicated that demand has spiked for products with paracetamol as an active ingredient, Vitamin C as well as children’s medications for cough and flu.