Covid-19 Drug Shortage, Minister: 'We're Conducting More Advanced Treatment'

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Laila Afifa

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  • Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin visits the COVID-19 Emergency Room at Fatmawati Hospital, Jakarta, to give moral support to health workers who are on duty. Health Ministry

    Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin visits the COVID-19 Emergency Room at Fatmawati Hospital, Jakarta, to give moral support to health workers who are on duty. Health Ministry

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin admitted that when the Covid-19 delta variant wave hits Indonesia in June, the government was not ready which caused medicine shortages. Yet,  the Health Ministry is currently working on a new management protocol to conquer this problem. 

    Minister Budi said that the shortage in Covid-19 therapeutic drugs caused by the long process in obtaining it; starting from importing the raw materials until the distribution to pharmacies which takes 4-6 weeks. 

    “The high need for medicine from June 1 has increased tremendously. So when it started to go up, the factory increased their raw materials to be imported," he said. By the time they increased the raw materials, the need for a particular product was also increasing, so the production speed could not catch up, he added.

    Currently, the minister went on, domestic products from the Association of Pharmaceutical Companies (GP Farmasi) as well as imported medicines are available. "And we continue to monitor the stock needs this August. And in the first week of August, many [of the drugs] have entered,” said Budi. 

    On top of that, Budi Gunadi Sadikin said that the ministry's request to five medical professional organizations to review the protocol for Covid-19 management with new treatments that is more suitable for delta mutations has been proposed.

    "The Health Ministry in collaboration with hospitals is also conducting clinical trials of several new therapies and drugs, which may help reduce the need for expensive imported drugs. So that the variety of protocols for treating COVID-19 in hospitals is getting richer, more sophisticated, more advanced, and the quality is close to the treatment carried out in hospitals in developed countries," said the minister. 

    Read: Govt Monitors Prices of Covid-19 Drugs Sold in Public

    Maudey K. Setyakusuma (Intern)