Nepal’s Critical Drug Shortage: Direct Relief Sends Emergency Airlift


Nepal Earthquake 2015

Direct Relief's Warehouse

In response to an urgent request from the Ministry of Health and Population in Nepal to address a critical drug shortage caused by an ongoing border impasse, Direct Relief today sent an initial emergency airlift containing $3.5 million of specifically requested medications and supplies and is rallying additional support from healthcare company supporters to address the crisis.

Today’s emergency infusion of medications and supplies from Direct Relief’s in-stock inventories contain 40 high-priority products, including antiretroviral medications for persons with HIV, antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, mental health drugs, and asthma medications.

The medications included in this initial shipment constitute 2.6 million “defined daily doses” — the World Health Organization-developed standard that reflects how much of a particular drug is needed for one day’s therapy. The shipment also contains other requested essential items, including IV solutions, needles and syringes, and various hospital and lab supplies.

Twelve healthcare companies, listed below, contributed products included in the shipment.

  • Actavis Pharma, Inc.
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies
  • Apotex Inc.
  • Eli Lilly & Company
  • Mylan
  • Bayer
  • Hospira, Inc.
  • Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
  • BD
  • Janssen Pharmaceuticals
  • Teva Pharmaceuticals, International

Direct Relief is planning a follow-on airlift in two weeks and is working with its broad range of healthcare company supporters and partners to mobilize additional medications and supplies that have been urgently requested.

Since Nepal’s devastating earthquakes in April and May, Direct Relief has delivered 144 tons of specifically requested medical essentials worth $28.98 million to health facilities throughout the country’s earthquake-affected regions and has provided an additional $1.7 million in cash grants to support local Nepalese health groups.

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