Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Jacquiline A. Bisasor-McKenzie says the Ministry is investigating reports of a shortage of drugs affecting private pharmacies.
“Based on the media reports, we are investigating, and have contacted some of the distributors and are awaiting the reports to see if there are drug shortages and exactly what those shortages are,” Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie told JIS News.
She informed that to date, the Ministry has not had any report from the Jamaica Association of Pharmacy Owners or any other organisation concerning the shortages of drugs.
The Chief Medical Officer informed that Jamaica imports the majority of its pharmaceutical needs and therefore there are many reasons why there may be stock- outs/ drug shortages.
“This can include business decisions by overseas manufactures to voluntary discontinue supplies, or it may be that there are global shortages affecting pharmaceutical ingredients,” Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie stated.
According to a release from the Ministry of Health, manufacturers and distributors locally are required to notify the Standards and Regulation Division in the Ministry regarding any problems that may arise regarding pharmaceuticals.
It noted however, that “the private industry is inconsistent in bringing these matters to the Ministry’s attention, leaving the Ministry unaware of these concerns.”
The Ministry further urged the distributors to take a proactive approach in notifying them regarding drug shortages, so that any intervention that is possible for the Ministry to make, can be made before “there is a total stock out or before it becomes impossible to source a drug.”