Jakarta, 1/9/2021 (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo, in a video that later went viral, visited a pharmacy in Bogor, West Java on July 23, 2021 to buy oseltamivir and other COVID-19 medicines only to be told they were not available.
He was told that the medicines were not available as the pharmacy had not received supplies of the anti-virus drugs for a long time.
In July this year, Indonesia saw a record jump in COVID-19 cases due to the spread of the Delta variant in Java and Bali in particular.
The country's daily COVID-19 cases hit a record of 56,757 on July 15, 2021, while the daily deaths touched 2,069 on July 27, 2021.
The grave situation forced the government to enforce strict peoples movement restrictions (PPKM), or semi lockdowns, as the Widodo administration avoided using the term lockdown in handling the pandemic.
The drastic COVID-19 spike overwhelmed the nation. Hospitals became overloaded with COVID-19 patients and the demand for drugs and medical oxygen jumped significantly, forcing the country to import them in larger quantities and accept the helping hand offered by other countries.
More worryingly, Indonesia barely produced three percent of medicines and medical equipment, while the remaining 97 percent were imported, particularly raw materials, according to Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin.
"For medicines, only three percent are produced domestically. We still import 97 percent (of them), since out of the 1,809 drug items in the e-catalog, only 56 drug items are produced domestically," the minister stated at a virtual press conference held to discuss efforts to bolster the use of domestically made medical equipment products.
Out of the 10 major medicinal raw materials, only two are produced domestically, specifically Clopidogrel and Paracetamol, while the rest are still imported, the minister informed. Similarly, most of the country's medical devices are imported, he added.
He then expressed concern over the high percentage of imports in the procurement of medical equipment, medicines, and raw materials for medicines.