Supply delay and high demand blamed for problem at QEH, says state health director
KOTA KINABALU 3/11/2012: Patients are prescribed with short-term dosages of medicine due to delay on the suppliers’ side and the rapid increase in the demand for certain types of medicines.
State health director Datuk Dr Yusof Haji Ibrahim said in a reply to Sabah Progressive Party’s (SAPP) demand that the government explain the shortage of medicine at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), said the problem was only temporary.
“There is a shortage in the supply of certain types of medicines, especially for patients with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, etc., but it is only temporary and the hospital is taking various measures to help counter this issue,”
“There are certain types of medicines that also need to be imported from outside the country, which also contributed to the shortage. But we are constantly monitoring the usage of medicines to ensure that all patients get the appropriate dosage and treatments.”
At the same, he said the hospital was taking other measures by offering patients with alternatives such as the Integrated Medicine Supply System, where they could obtain medicines from the nearest hospitals or government clinics.
The ‘SMS-dan-ambil (SMS and fetch)’ system had also been introduced to avoid having to wait for too long at the hospital counters, he added.
Other alternatives include Ubat Melalui Pos (UMP or medicines through post) system, drive-through counters, as well as 24-hour counters, offered to patients, said Yusof.
“With so many alternative ways offered to patients to obtain their medicines and subsequent dosages, the lack of parking issue should not exist,” Yusof reiterated.
Regarding the claims on prescribing generic medicines, Yusof disclosed that most of the medicines prescribed to patients nationwide were generic, as they come from the same sources.
“The same goes to other developed countries if the patent duration had ended. Based on the quality and effectiveness of generic medicines, they are similar to authentic medicines as the generic medicines registered in Malaysia have been confirmed to be as effective and safe by the National Pharmaceutical Control Bureau,” he said.
Yusof also pointed out that the pharmacy service of the hospital had not been affected by the issue of QEH being declared unsafe three years ago, and everything was still under control.
“The Ministry of Health and State Health Department are always considerate of the people’s health and will continue to monitor the development of health services for the benefit of the people,” said Yusof.
SAPP information chief Chong Pit Fah has called on Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai to explain the shortage of a certain types of medicines at QEH after receiving many complaints from affected patients.
“Now patients are prescribed with two weeks supply of drugs, instead of the two-month or one-month supply, previously. Patients were told that the hospital was running out of drugs. Besides this, patients also complained that the hospital prescribed them with generic drugs which are inferior in quality as compared to genuine ones,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
He added that the lack of parking space at QEH also brought problems to patients who have their own transport whenever they come to replenish their medicine supply.