Medicine shortage not due to panic buying, says Khairy

THE short supply of medicines — especially at certain pharmacies and private health facilities — is not due to panic buying by members of the public, said Health Minister (MoH) Khairy Jamaluddin (picture).

Instead, he clarified that this followed the high demand for certain medications following the earlier spread of the Omicron and the current rising cases of the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).

However, Khairy said the situation is not nationwide as it only involved several locations and certain medicines and he assured the overall supply of medicines in the country is adequate.

“Many of the medications were said to be in short supply but have not run out of stock and the medicines are for common illnesses such as flu, fever, headache and so on.

“So maybe this is related to the time when many were infected with Covid-19 and after that HFMD spiked the demand for such medicines,” he said in a media conference here today.

Commenting further, Khairy said his ministry is conducting a review with medicine manufacturers and importers to obtain detailed information on the supply of such medications apart from obtaining feedback from the Malaysian Medical Association and private clinics.

“We will work with pharmaceutical manufacturing companies on whether to provide alternative medicines or to import medicines from other countries.

“But now we are receiving several complaints daily and we will try to assist them to obtain stocks of the medicines. Government facilities do not have such problems,” he said.

Earlier, he attended the presentation of medical equipment from the government of Japan through the Japan Grant Aid to the MoH which was attended by the Ambassador of Japan to Malaysia Takahashi Katsuhiko.  

Commenting on the contribution, Khairy said the medical equipment worth RM19.3 million was donated by Japan to be distributed to all government hospitals throughout the country to improve the services of the facilities.

“Many hospitals would be receiving the equipment and they include Kuala Lipis Hospital, Kuala Krai Hospital, Orang Asli Gombak Hospital and Jempol Hospital,” he said.

The government of Japan in December 2020 offered to assist Malaysia to combat Covid-19 in the form of Japan Grant Aid to supply critical medical equipment for the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

To date, 174 of the 248 units of equipment have been distributed to MoH hospitals nationwide and the equipment including syringe pumps, emergency carts, blood gas analysers, portable ultrasound scanners and defibrillators will continue to be used to treat non-Covid-19 patients when the outbreak is declared over. — Bernama