APHM, PhAMA address medicine shortage in Malaysia

by AUFA MARDHIAH / pic MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THERE must be no compromise in healthcare and treatment for patients, say the Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) and the Pharmaceutical Association of Malaysia (PhAMA).

Both associations admitted that while sporadic medicine shortages are normal, the current shortage is made worse by events such as the Covid-19 pandemic and international conflicts which disrupt logistics in unprecedented ways.

APHM president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said this is where all parties involved need to commit to co-create short and long-term solutions to enhance the healthcare landscape and add value to care delivery.

“Among the consensus reached by both parties include early notification to healthcare providers on the possibility of a product shortage so that measures can be put in place for alternatives. 

“The notification mechanism will include other stakeholders such as the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA), the Health Ministry (MoH) and the Malaysian Medical Association, among others,” he said after a meeting between APHM and PhAMA regarding the issue of medicine shortage in Malaysia, recently.

Both associations also agreed that medicines facing the possibility of discontinuation should be made known to healthcare providers in advance to ensure contingency plans can be put in place, in addition to improved coordination and solidarity between all parties to ease borrowing of medicines in times of critical shortages.

Additionally, APHM and PhAMA will work together in engaging with the Pharmacy Services Programme (PSP) and NPRA to improve patients’ access to medicines.

They also agreed that digitisation must be embraced to speed up processes such as labelling and medicine stock monitoring, as well as continuous engagement on medicine pricing in view of the significant increases in cost of logistics, active pharmaceutical ingredients and labour.

Meanwhile, PhAMA president Chin Keat Chyuan assured that the association will continue to work closely with the PSP and MoH and provide support where necessary. 

The meeting served as a platform for both associations to share perspectives and gain better understanding of the current situation surrounding the medical supply shortage in the country.