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.