NO short­age

Public hospi­tals have enough sup­ply of medicines, says Health Min­istry


PE­TAL­ING JAYA: The Health Min­istry has de­nied there is a short­age of medicines in the coun­try de­spite claims by some pa­tients.

“There i s no s hortage of medicines or sup­ple­ments at public hospi­tals and clin­ics. What we have done is to sup­ply medicines for a month. This is to re­duce wastage,” Health Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Ab­dul­lah told theSun.

Some pa­tients had claimed their usual sup­ply of med­i­ca­tion had been re­duced to two weeks or a month, a de­crease from the two to six months’ sup­ply they re­ceived pre­vi­ously.

Among the sup­plies said to be af­fected were insulin, parac­eta­mol, eye drops and Vi­ta­min C.

Noor Hisham said the min­istry’s pol­icy en­sures that there is suf­fi­cient sup­ply at all its hospi­tals and clin­ics.

“We also en­sure the medicine we give pa­tients are of good qual­ity,” he added.

On the sup­ply of insulin to di­a­bet­ics, he said there had been a dis­rup­tion in its ship­ments from

over­seas as the man­u­fac­turer was fac­ing some prob­lems.

He said the min­istry was closely mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion at all its fa­cil­i­ties and has taken mea­sures to ob­tain sup­ply from an al­ter­na­tive source.

Di­a­betes pa­tient Ki­ran, 57, said get­ting a month’s sup­ply is in­con­ve­nient as she has to make many trips to the hospi­tal.

Michael, a res­tau­rant man­ager, said fol­low­ing his re­cov­ery from tu­ber­cu­lo­sis this year, he was given a month’s sup­ply of med­i­ca­tion af­ter each visit to the doc­tor.

“How­ever, the phar­ma­cist gave me only two weeks’ sup­ply. They said they were fac­ing a short­age and a month’s sup­ply would only be is­sued if there was a let­ter from the doc­tor,” said Michael.

A govern­ment phar­ma­cist in Malacca said public hospi­tals and clin­ics have been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing short­age of medicines such as drugs for high blood pres­sure, di­a­betes and insulin for the past two months.

She said the sit­u­a­tion has forced them to pre­scribe only a month’s sup­ply of med­i­ca­tion in­stead of the usual two, adding that hospi­tals and clin­ics have had to bor­row medicine from other phar­ma­cies, with some un­sure if the medicines would last un­til the year end.

A Jo­hor-based phar­ma­cist said they are is­su­ing only two weeks’ sup­ply of drugs. While the sit­u­a­tion is man­age­able at the mo­ment, it can’t be pro­longed as it will add com­pli­ca­tions for pa­tients, she said.

A doc­tor from Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan said the hospi­tal she is at­tached to is cur­rently run­ning low on Vi­ta­min C, which is now only pre­scribed to pa­tients with crit­i­cal kid­ney dis­ease.

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