Govt to import saline-solution bags amid nationwide shortage

national September 08, 2012 00:00

By The Nation

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Even though it is nearly a year since severe flooding hit Thailand, one of the country's four manufacturers of saline solution for kidney dialysis is still feeling the pinch.


“Hospitals nationwide only have access to about 50,000 bags of this saline solution,” Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri said yesterday.
He added that the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) would distribute these bags among medical facilities to ensure that the patients are provided for. 
GPO chief Witit Artavatkun said yesterday that 20,000 bags had been sent to facilities that were in urgent need. 
He also disclosed that his organisation had placed orders for more than a million of the saline solution bags from India, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
“The product will be delivered over the next month,” he said, explaining that the first shipment of 22,800 bags will arrive on September 13, and another 600,000 will be delivered on September 17 and 18. 
Witit explained that the manufacturing process of saline solution for kidney dialysis was different from other medication.
“After the saline solution is produced, it needs to be stored for 15 days and then its quality has to be tested. Only those with satisfactory results can be sold,” he said. 
According to him, Thailand has the capacity to produce about 120 million bags of this saline solution each year. However, as one of the factories was flooded last year it has not been able to return to full capacity yet. 

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