Certain drugs running low, alternatives available

GEORGE TOWN: Although the supply of certain crucial drugs has been running low, especially in private healthcare facilities, alternative medications are still available.

Dr Sritharan Rao Subbarao, who runs a private clinic in Kedah, said there is a shortage of crucial medication such as the paracetamol brand Panadol, antibiotics and cough syrup, but stock is gradually coming in.

“The drug shortage mostly involves antibiotics and paediatric medications like cough and flu medicine.

“If we do not have the type A version of the medication, we use the alternative referred to as type B.

“Preference is always type A but there are alternatives that can be prescribed to patients.

“There was a shortage of certain type A medicine, but stock is coming in now.

“Last month, stock was limited for medication like Augmentin (used to treat infections) and cough syrup.

“This was attributed to the shortage of raw materials needed to make the medicine and the increase in demand,” he said.

Dr Sritharan said the medicine is mainly from India and China.

“This is the first time there is a shortage; it has not happened before.

“This could be related to the pandemic as the demand for these medicines have increased tremendously,” he added.

Dr Sritharan said the Health Ministry and Malaysian Medical Association have taken steps to address this shortage by offering the private healthcare sector medicines if needed.

Pharmacist Lim Chee Mun, who works in a private pharmacy here, said so far there is sufficient supply of most medications.

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