Assistant Health Minister for Pharmaceutical Affairs Ayman al-Khatieb has announced he has has ordered the formation of a committee to receive complaints regarding unavailable medications and investigate the claim published on the Facebook page "Pharmacists of the Central Administration for Pharmaceutical Affairs" that 200 types of medication have disappeared from the market. Khatieb also charged the committee with finding alternatives to these medications if the information proves true.
The drug shortage is part of a global phenomenon, Khatieb told Al-Masry Al-Youm, citing statistics from the US Food and Drug Administration. He added that the Central Administration for Pharmaceutical Affairs is following the latest methods to address this global shortage.
He added that he sent a letter to manufacturers, importers and distribution companies promising to provide the Central Administration for Pharmaceutical Affairs with information should they experience a shortage in the stock of certain drugs, so that the administration can find affordable alternatives before the market is affected.
Khatieb stressed that he ordered all the offices of health affairs nationwide to periodically send lists naming all unavailable medications to the Central Administration for Pharmaceutical Affairs.
Khatieb said he has also contacted the Assistant Minister for Health Care and Preventive Medicine and will contact the Assistant Minister for Financial Affairs in case he needs further financial support to resolve the shortages.
The drug crisis has been fabricated by a number of employees in the Central Administration for Pharmaceutical Affairs for personal reasons, Khatieb said, saying the Health Ministry has taken preventive measures to prevent the occurrence of such a crisis in Egypt.
Mohsen Abdel Aleem, director of the Technical Bureau for Pharmaceutical Affairs, said most of the drugs that "allegedly disappeared" have alternatives in the market and are available at cheaper prices, adding that this crisis is artificial and that the ministry will take legal action against those who fabricated the crisis to scare the public.
Cairo and other governorates are suffering from severe shortages of both locally and internationally produced penicillin, according to pharmacist Ayman Bakhit, who added that seven penicillin alternatives and certain heart medications have disappeared from the market as well.
Translated from the Arabic Edition