The empty medicine rack due to the supply shortage. Penang
The empty medicine rack due to the supply shortage.Rak ubat batuk kanak-kanak kosong susulan bekalannya sukar diperoleh pihak farmasi Pulau Pinang.

By Malinda Abdul Malik

GEORGE TOWN – The high demands towards certain medicine due to Covid-19 and the rise of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) has caused the supply shortage in Penang.

The Chairperson of Penang Malaysian Pharmacists Society (MPS), Koay Wan Lee said, the high demand for certain medicine since last year caused the suppliers to be unable to support the total market demand.

She said, logistics factor are also among the cause for the supply shortage, especially if it involves imported medicine.

“The shortage of medicine supply happens everywhere and there are many factors which influence the issues. For example, if a Brand A medicine used to be supplied at 1,000 units, now, the demand has increased twice, causing shortage to happen in the market.

“Not all drugs are experiencing shortage now, only several types involving fever, cough, flu, gel for HFMD and several other controlled medicines.

“Clients are used to certain brands, thus, when there is a shortage, it becomes a conversation. However, when they come to the pharmacy, we will suggest other brands to them,” she told MalaysiaGazette today.

Koay Wan Lee.

MalaysiaGazette was told that there are about 500 pharmacists registered with MPS in Penang.

Elaborating further, Wan Lee said that the Minister of Health, Khairy Jamaluddin and the Ministry of Health (MOH) have proposed several measures to overcome the issue and the MPS welcomes the suggestions.

However, she also said that the government could follow the footsteps of Taiwan, where they supply equal amount of medicine to all healthcare facilities.

“For example, each seller can only get the maximum of 1,000 boxes of fever medicine. Indirectly, this can avoid anyone from monopolising the drug supply,” she said. -MalaysiaGazette

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