x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Eye-drop shortage solved after labelling mix-up

The Ministry of Health has moved to reverse a shortage of prescription eye drops for people with glaucoma.

DUBAI // Prescription eye drops are back on private pharmacy shelves today after stocks ran out in a labelling mix-up.

A shipment of Xalatan, used to treat glaucoma, was wrongly labelled by the manufacturer as being for Ministry of Health use only.

This meant the medication could not be distributed to private pharmacies, leaving them out of stock for three months.

Ministry officials said yesterday they had waived the labelling regulations and the Xalatan eye drops would available in private pharmacies from today.

Dr Amin Al Amiri, the assistant undersecretary for medical practices and licences, said: "We allowed them to bring it in exclusively this time just to cover the needs of the community.

"This is an indication that we are following any shortage in the market with manufacturers and local agents.

"We aim to serve the community and to help them at any time. We ask the community to communicate with us if there is any shortage in any medicine."

Mahesh Mohanan, a pharmacist at SuperCare pharmacy in Jumeirah, said: "The eye drops are only given by prescription. They have been out of stock for about three months now."

Dr Hossein Zadeh, an eye consultant at New Shifa Clinic in Dubai, said: "For some patients, it is more convenient to use one kind of medication and they tend to get used to the same bottle, but we can achieve the same effect with other medicines.

"Xalatan is a medication to treat eye pressure and glaucoma but if it is not available then there are other options and medicines that can be used."

"What Xalatan does is it reduces the increased pressure in the eye and patients need to use it on a daily basis," said Dr Moza Ali Dekhain, the head of the ophthalmology department at Dubai Hospital.