Concerns over shortage of certain pharmaceutical drugs

December 4, 2023 6:38 am

The Ministry of Health is actively addressing shortages of certain pharmaceutical drugs and consumables by strengthening procurement and supply processes.

Driven by the need for timely and affordable access to medications, especially for non-communicable diseases and high-value drugs, the Ministry is focusing on improving acquisition procedures.

Health Minister Dr Atonio Lalabalavu says working closely with suppliers is a central strategy for the ministry to effectively manage shortages.

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“But it’s still an issue. It has been there; trying to take care of it is a difficult thing, but we are addressing the issues as we go along, and I believe we are improving on that. And in terms of the drug supplies and the consumables coming in, that is an issue.”

Emphasizing the importance of safe storage, Dr. Lalabalavu underscores a comprehensive approach to ensuring the integrity of medications and consumables.

“Yes again the issue of safekeeping of drugs consumables biomedical equipment is an important thing. We have to bind about stock them and then the stocking part is important.”

Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr. James Fong, advocates for necessary reviews to enhance the digital platform, aligning with global perspectives on optimizing healthcare management.

“And I know that there has been a review done through the World Bank which has articulated at some of the processes that do need to be either created or strengthened in order for us to really fully realize the impact of strengthening a digital platform for procurement and distribution.”

By ensuring adequate stock levels, the Ministry aims to guarantee the timely availability of medications in hospitals, prioritizing patient care needs.