Medication shortage in private hospitals manageable, says association

PETALING JAYA: Private hospitals are switching to generics to counter the shortage of certain medications such as for flu, cough and fever.

"The shortage, faced by public hospitals is also faced by general practitioners clinics although there are sufficient stocks for live-saving conditions," said Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh.

He said the shortages are not across all medications and hospitals have resorted to alternatives like generics to the usually prescribed brands and the current shortages were manageable.

"The Covid-19 pandemic and the recent hand foot and mouth disease have caused the shortage.

"Private hospitals have systems in place that can calculate the usual demand of medications during different months of the year and with the possibility of increase of upper respiratory tract infection in certain times of the year.

Dr Kuljit said placing orders and storage of medications would be done accordingly without any wastage or over-supplying to the hospital pharmacy as all medications have a shelf life and unsold medication would lead to financial losses.

"Some private hospitals have recently noticed a low supply of paediatric medications which may be due to higher numbers of paediatric patients as schools and social interactions are allowed, resulting in higher communicable diseases.

He said in view of the sudden demand for paediatric medication, private hospitals have increased their orders from the resources.

"The reasons given by suppliers range from lack of raw material, the war in Ukraine and recent lockdowns in China, but we believe this is very temporary and the situation will get better in a few weeks.

Dr Kuljit said private hospitals would like to re-ensure that medications for critical diseases and live-saving conditions are available.

"Should the need arise in emergency conditions, private hospitals work very seamlessly between hospitals to assist each other to treat patients with the appropriate medication without any hassle or difficulty," he added.

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