NUR-SULTAN – Kazakhstan will create a national pharmaceutical reserve to ensure the country’s 18 million population has sufficient access to medicines amid the pandemic, said Kazakh Healthcare Minister Alexey Tsoy at a July 21 government meeting.
The so-called stabilization fund will be implemented by SK Pharmacy company, a state-owned company tasked with the public procurement of medicines.
As the number of coronavirus infections began to soar last month and misinformation started to spread online, people rushed to pharmacies to buy antibiotics and antiviral medicines, despite the official advice to avoid taking any medication without the doctor’s prescription.
Many, however, had to wait in lines, including those who are in urgent need of medicines. This all led to a critical shortage of medicines.
SK Pharmacy has created a monthly stock of medicines, which will be supplied to regional hospitals by the end of July. The company plans to have a two-month stock that will be sufficient to meet the needs of the market and hospitals.
Tsoy also said that the time and procedures to certify medicines were simplified from one month to three days and the one-time import of antiviral medicines which were not registered in Kazakhstan was made easier and now only takes one day.
“We helped our local wholesale suppliers. We have organized six special flights to Russia and India. More than four million packages have already been delivered to Kazakhstan. At the same time, each region is working on this issue and additional planes are being scheduled to increase the availability of these medicines. In some places, we see there is still a certain deficit, but in general, the situation has stabilized. These drugs are coming in. We have created such conditions for the market so that it would be easy to enter the market and import these medicines,” said the minister.
Kazakhstan spent at least 150 billion tenge (US$367.2 million) to purchase medicines, mechanical ventilation devices, incentivize health workers, and other urgent measures.