Nationwide shortage of drugs in public hospitals due to surge in Covid-19 cases

(MMO) – Public hospitals across the country are facing a critical shortage of medications, including those needed to treat serious Covid-19 cases.

Malaysiakini reported today that drugs and medicines used to treat Covid-19 patients, especially for those who are dependent on life-support machines have depleted because of the high numbers of patients.

Sources told the online news portal that among drugs reportedly low on supply are multiple meds used for sedation and muscle relaxants, anticoagulant drug Clexane, pain medication Faentayl as well as other such as Pantoprazole, which is used to treat patients who developed intestinal bleeding due to usage of medicines used for the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

The sources said the hospitals had to use alternative drugs to treat the patients and described the shortage as “abnormal”.

Meanwhile, Malaysiakini also reported Health Ministry secretary-general Datuk Mohd Shafiq Abdullah as saying that the nationwide drug shortage is driven by a “sudden increase” in demand for Covid-19 treatment.

He added that usage of these drugs “increased drastically” over the course of six to 11 months, with the latest surge having started in May.

However, he assured that the ministry’s stock of medication is not completely depleted but only “supplied in stages to meet procurement needs”.

“Various efforts have been taken by the Pharmaceutical Services Programme to address the problem such as through emergency procurement, working closely with contract suppliers to find alternative sources and discussing with clinicians on suitable alternative medicines that can be used to ensure continuity of treatment for the greater benefit of the rakyat,” he said.

Until yesterday, Malaysia recorded 265,695 active cases with 982 treated in the intensive care units in hospitals across the country. 470 of them are in need of respiratory support.