MMA: Address local pharmaceutical industry supply and demand issues

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) urges authorities to address shortage of medicine supply in the local pharmaceutical industry fast.

MMA president Dr Koh Kar Chai said there was a notable shortage of certain medicines in the market recently.

He said although it was not a new phenomenon, the supply and demand situation must be corrected soon.

"This is not new as the issue has been seen since countries around the world started emerging from the lockdown measures and resumed their economic activities.

"Coupled with an unprecedented amount of demand for common medications brought on by the high incidence rate of Omicron, many pharmaceuticals, both manufacturers and distributors alike were caught off guard.

"The industry responded by placing higher orders for products from the manufacturers abroad.

"In the case of local manufacturers, they scramble to increase their manufacturing capacities which are however also dependent on raw materials sourced from other countries," he said in a statement, today.

Dr Koh said the global situation was affecting the imports of both the finished products as well as raw materials of pharmaceutical products.

"Local manufacturers are limited by their capacity to ramp up production.

"It is not a simple matter to increase production just to address the shortfall of supplies in the market.

"Raw materials aside, manufacturing plants are also built to certain specifications, which may not allow any sudden and massive increase in the rate of production".

On this note, Dr Koh expressed MMA's hope for a correction in the supply and demand situation of pharmaceuticals in the Malaysian market soon.

He said more disruptions might occur, including impacting the unaffected medications, if the situation remained unchecked.

MMA also called on the public to refrain from panic buying by unnecessarily hoarding medications which were not immediately needed, to avoid aggravating the situation.

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