Public hospitals nationwide are still getting a sufficient supply of Covid-19 medicines despite a drastic increase in demand and disruption in supplies from producers, said Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
The medicines are still being received in stages as the Health Ministry had taken various approaches to overcome the problem of supply, he said.
The demand for medicines used for treating Covid-19 had increased drastically since May this year due to a spike in cases in the country.
Noor Hisham said the demand had increased by 10 to 15 times compared to the pre-Covid-19 pandemic period, which affected the level of stocks for Covid-19 medicines in public hospitals.
“The Health Ministry was told of disruptions in supplies from pharmaceutical companies overseas following the pandemic, and local manufacturers also have limited capability to provide a big amount of stocks in a short period.
“This is due to a shortage of raw materials faced by producers and an unstable flow of additional raw materials into the country,” he said, as reported by Bernama today.
Noor Hisham said the Health Ministry had taken several measures to overcome the problem, including keeping in constant communication with suppliers to get priority in supply for Malaysia and seeking alternative sources of medications under federal contracts.
The Health Ministry has also made emergency procurements at the national and state Health Department levels, apart from facilitating off-contract purchases for 21 types of medicines related to Covid-19 treatment.
“The Health Ministry also continues to hold discussions with medical specialists on alternative medicines that are suitable for use to ensure continuity in treatment.
“This is not limited to the Health Ministry Medicines Formulary but encompasses all registered and non-registered medicines which can be obtained to meet our needs,” he added.
Noor Hisham said for the sake of the people’s well-being, the ministry was committed to cooperating with various parties to ensure the availability of medical supplies and the quality, safety and efficacy of medicines procured.
Yesterday, Malaysiakini had reported that many government hospitals across the country are facing a critical shortage of medications, including those needed to treat serious Covid-19 cases, according to sources inside the healthcare system.