NO drug short­age


KU A L A L U MP U R : Gov­ern­ment hos­pi­tals will not face any more drug short­age is­sues aris­ing from a RM380 mil­lion bud­get cut an­nounced last year, a s t he f unds have been r ein­stated t o t he Health Min­istry.

Deputy Health Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahya said yes­ter­day Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Ab­dul Razak, who is also fi­nance min­is­ter, had with­drawn the bud­get cut for med­i­cal ex­pen­di­ture this year, fol­low­ing an ap­peal by the min­istry.

The Health Min­istry’s al­lo­ca­tion of RM23.31 bil­lion in 2015 was re­duced to RM23.03 bil­lion in Bud­get 2016.

Hilmi said t he bud­get re­duc­tion was re­voked to en­sure there is ad­e­quate sup­ply of medicine at all gov­ern­ment hos­pi­tals.

He said the gov­ern­ment had cut the min­istry’s funds by up to RM380 mil­lion for 2016, but the money was re­turned later to the min­istry in stages.

“As such, we will not have any more drug short­age is­sues,” said Hilmi, adding that the min­istry would also look into op­ti­mis­ing the use of medicines to avoid wastage.

He was re­ply­ing to Ah­mad Bai­haki Atiqul­lah (PAS-Kubang Ke­rian) in the Dewan Rakyat yes­ter­day. Ah­mad Bai­haki had asked about the mea­sures taken by the min­istry to re­solve me d i c i n e short­age at gov­ern­ment hos­pi­tals.

He said to­wards op­ti­mis­ing us­age of drugs, the min­istry has i ssued guide­lines to stop medicine wastage by en­forc­ing proper pre­scrip­tion and dis­pens­ing prac­tices.

“Un­der the new re­quire­ment, pa­tients who visit gov­ern­ment phar­ma­cists will have to show what is left of their medicine, so that it could be topped up ac­cord­ingly.

“This i s be­cause some pa­tients do not com­plete their course on time and there is a lot of wastage.”

He said the min­istry had

spent RM2.2 bil­lion to buy medicines in 2015 and RM1.9 bil­lion this year, of which 60% are generic drugs while the rest were ei­ther in­no­va­tors or orig­i­nal medicines.

Nev­er­the­less, he gave an as­sur­ance that the min­istry only ap­proved the pur­chase of generic drugs if the qual­ity of the medicine is equal to that of in­no­va­tors.

Last month, theSun re­ported con­cerns from pa­tients that there would be a short­age of medicine in the coun­try.

The is­sue came to light fol­low­ing claims by pa­tients that their sup­ply had been re­duced to two weeks or a month, from be­tween two and six months’ sup­ply pre­vi­ously, de­pend­ing on the drugs.

Health Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Ab­dul­lah had al­layed such fears, say­ing the min­istry had only re­duced medicine sup­ply to a month to avoid wastage. The min­istry’s pol­icy was to en­sure there was suf­fi­cient sup­ply of medicines and sup­ple­ments at all its hos­pi­tals and clin­ics.

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