ABU DHABI // A national system will be introduced to monitor the dispensing of medicine, the Minister of Health yesterday told the FNC.
Dr Abdul Rahman Al Owais said the ministry was working on a new method to link all of its affiliated medical centres to ensure patients did not receive the same medication more than once with the same prescription.
“They come to a hospital, get a box, go to another, get a second and a third,” the minister said.
Members said the pharmaceutical sector needed to be regulated to stop medicine being wasted.
They said officials from the ministry told them there were 3,000 medications registered with it, and 1,100 with the Dubai Health Authority, leading them to believe local authorities in different emirates could register medication on their own.
But Dr Al Owais assured them only one entity in the country could officially register medicine.
Ahmed Al Shamsi (Ajman) suggested the new monitoring system should be immediately implemented, not subjected to more study as the minister had said.
“The market is filled with medication and herbal medicine,” Mr Al Shamsi said.
“Our children buy those unprescribed medicines and suffer from side effects.”
Medicine was changing and so was the need to keep pace of it, he said.
“When medicine is imported from countries the UAE should assess them based on the rules and regulations,” he said.
“By doing so we will be competitive with other markets.”
Dr Al Owais agreed that a law was needed to regulate the pharmaceutical sector.
Members said there was a shortage of medication in healthcare centres affiliated with the ministry, especially some expensive medicines that patients sometimes had to pay for.
But there was no such shortage in centres affiliated to the Health Authority Abu Dhabi. The minister said the shortage was only in certain types of medication.
“Shortage has increased over time, which may refer to a certain kind, not all,” Dr Al Owais said. “A lot of medicines for diabetes have different prices.”
Members said they had found a large amount of expired medication at the ministry, which the health committee estimated was worth at least Dh13 million.
They also asked the minister for the second time in a year about comprehensive health insurance for Emiratis. Dr Al Owais said the matter was with the Ministry of Finance.
Members noted the urgency of the matter.