Malaysia facing shortage of medication supplies

This comes following a surge of demand for Covid-19 treatment drugs to skyrocket around the world since May 2021


MALAYSIA is reportedly facing a shortage of medication supplies including those needed to treat Covid-19.

This comes following a surge in cases that caused demand for Covid-19 treatment drugs to skyrocket around the world since May 2021.

According to Health DG Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, the country’s demand for medications has increased by 10 to 15 times since the pre-pandemic period, affecting the level of Covid-19 drug stocks.

In response to the shortage, the Malaysian Pharmacist Society (MPS) has taken the necessary steps to overcome the problem of supply.

Its president Amrahi Buang said the shortage is because 90% of drug supplies are imported from other countries.

He added that MPS is addressing this matter primarily through giving patients smaller amounts of prescription on long-term medications.

Additionally, the Health Ministry’s (MoH) Pharmacy Services Programme has also taken remedial actions.

This includes keeping in constant communication with suppliers to ensure Malaysia gets first priority and looking for alternative sources of drugs under federal contracts.

“With the limited supplies, we hope patients do not waste the free drugs given to them and comply with the instructions given,” Amrahi said to The Malaysian Reserve.

However, in case of shortage in certain medicines, he noted that the doctor will consider giving alternative medications.

“Usually, the doctor based on their expertise will decide whether to give the medicine alternative as per the recommendations from pharmacists at a given time,” he said.

Amrahi contended that Malaysia must have a detailed long-term plan in place to prevent public health services from failing in the event of a catastrophe.

Previously, MoH was reported as saying that the disruptions in supplies from pharmaceutical companies overseas following the pandemic have also caused local manufacturers to have limited capability to provide a big amount of stocks in a short period.

The spike of the Omicron variant also raised the demand for paracetamol with many people resorting to stocking up their household with the medicine.

The public also purchased paracetamol in preparation for their Covid-19 booster shot, as its possible side effects included fever, headache, and joint discomfort.

Pharmaniaga Bhd MD Datuk Zulkarnain Md Eusope as quoted by Bernama, meanwhile, said the company’s paracetamol product, Actimol is not experiencing any shortage in the market.