By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: Kuwait Times visited pharmacies in various parts of Kuwait City, Salmiya and Fahaheel this past week in search of particular medicines including one for high blood pressure, but found that all the pharmacies were out of stock. Pharmacists at several of the shops confirmed to Kuwait Times that various medications are in short supply due to supply disruptions caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.

“Because of the pandemic, the regular supply chain was interrupted and we do not know when it will be available. They said it will come soon, but Kuwait has run out of [a well-known blood pressure medicine] since two weeks,” a pharmacist said on condition of anonymity.

Certain medications are not dispensed at government hospitals and clinics in Kuwait to expatriates though they remain available for Kuwaiti citizens. Medicines are distributed free of charge to Kuwaitis at government hospitals but expats have to pay a minimum fee of KD 10.

Other drugs that are low or out of stock in local pharmacies include ones for high blood pressure, diabetes and other conditions. “We were informed these drugs will be available soon, but we do not know how soon is soon – the most logical reason I heard why they are out of stock is because the regular flow of supplies was affected by the global pandemic. I heard it’s a global problem and not just in Kuwait,” one pharmacist who asked that his name be withheld told Kuwait Times.

No one from the ministry of health pharmacy department was available to confirm or deny if they are experiencing a shortage as well, although Kuwait Times has learned some government hospitals and clinics are also running low on supplies.