Mma Launches Survey On Antibiotics Shortage In Public Hospitals
A section of the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has launched a survey asking government doctors to report the situation of antibiotics shortages at their hospitals.
The survey by the MMA's Section Concerning House Officers, Medical Officers and Specialists (Schomos) came amid claims of rampant antibiotics shortage in public facilities.
"In light of the recent shortage of antibiotics in government hospitals, this survey aims to evaluate the supply of antibiotics and hopefully push for a more reliable, constant supply system to ensure patient care is not compromised," the online survey reads.
The doctors were asked to report a supply shortage even if it involved a shortage of a single prescribed dose.
Medicine shortage in private facilities
In July, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said there was a low supply of certain over-the-counter medicines in the market, including antibiotics, paediatric medications and cough syrups.
The shortage was among others due to supply chain disruptions, caused by shipping disruptions linked to the Ukraine-Russia War.
Russia is also a major exporter of starch, required to bind powders in tablets and control the viscosity in syrups.
A rise in Covid-19 cases back then also drove unprecedented demand for common medicines like paracetamol and vitamin C, causing a shortage, the MMA said at the time.
Shortages then were reportedly mostly affecting private health facilities, prompting the ministry to release its federal medicine stockpile to fill the gap in private hospitals and clinics.
The ministry also allowed private healthcare facilities to borrow medicines from government facilities, allowing the public to purchase medicine from government pharmacies with prescriptions from private clinics or hospitals.
High report of antibiotics shortage
An earlier survey of 56 doctors in public hospitals from December 2019 to January 2020 by specialist student Dr Timothy Cheng found 62 percent reported shortages of antibiotics in their hospitals, health news site CodeBlue reported.
The antibiotics most commonly in short supply were beta-lactamase inhibitors like sultamicillin, used in outpatient care for common infections like bacterial respiratory tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases, and skin infections, Cheng's respondents reported.
More than two-thirds of doctors surveyed said the shortages happened at least once every two to six months.
A total of 85 percent said it is not a new problem while 80 percent said it affected their treatment of patients. - Mkini
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