Some drugs are running out, alternatives are available

GEORGE TOWN: Although the supply of some essential medicines has decreased, especially in private health facilities, alternative medicines are still available.

Dr Sritharan Rao Subbarao, who runs a private clinic in Kedah, said there was a shortage of essential medicines such as Panadol brand of paracetamol, antibiotics and cough syrup, but supplies were gradually coming in.

“The shortage of medicines mainly concerns antibiotics and pediatric medicines such as cough and flu medicines.

“If we don’t have the type A version of the drug, we use the so-called type B alternative.

“The preference is still type A but there are alternatives that can be prescribed to patients.

“There was a shortage of some type A drugs, but stocks are coming in now.

“Last month, supplies were limited for drugs like Augmentin (used to treat infections) and cough syrup.

“This has been attributed to the shortage of raw materials needed to manufacture the drug and the increase in demand,” he said.

Dr Sritharan said the drug mainly comes from India and China.

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

“It could be related to the pandemic because the demand for these drugs has increased dramatically,” he added.

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

Pharmacist Lim Chee Mun, who works at a private pharmacy here, said so far the supply of most drugs has been sufficient.

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