The World Health Organization expressed concern about the disruption of essential health services for chronic disease management due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A study done in Indonesia’s Malang district, showed concerns regarding restrictions on movement and access to health services for patients with chronic conditions, such as those at high risk for cardiovascular disease. However, fears about disruptions to the supply of essential medicines were largely unfounded, as primary health centers and private suppliers had supplies of all cardiovascular medicines on hand.
While public facilities saw a significant drop in patient numbers and dispensing of CVD medicines, sales volumes at private pharmacies quickly picked up again and exceeded pre-pandemic levels within three months. Some patients who would normally get medicines free in the public sector may have been buying low-cost medicines from pharmacies during the pandemic. The response to ensuring continuity of medicine supply to CVD patients varied in different countries, with some promoting greater use of telemedicine.
However, effective control of CVD requires regular monitoring of a patient’s clinical condition, which may suffer if patients are unable or unwilling to visit health facilities. The risk of planning procurement orders annually or bi-annually was illustrated, as dramatic changes in demand can lead to shortages or over-supply.
In the Indonesian context, the private sector was able to pick up some of shortfall in CVD medicine provision reported by public services, including increasing its sales of INN and other affordable generic medicines. Were these studies replicated in other countries?
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