Probe into shortage of chronic medication

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pretoria - The Western Cape Health Department has launched an investigation into the reasons of a shortage of chronic medication at Metropole clinics.

Provincial Health MEC Theuns Botha, who requested the investigation, said the department needs to know why supplies are not provided on schedule, who the responsible parties are and what needs to be done to avoid the problem.

"Our latest update today is that eight products are out of stock, of which only one has no alternative pack size available.

"I realise it causes major inconvenience to patients when chronic medication is not available and we hope that the majority of the supply chain problems will be solved by the end of July, unfortunately all chronic medicines are affected," Botha said on Monday.

Botha urged patients to go back to their community health centres and ask the pharmacy managers to source alternatives, while the department is trying to source medicines.

"The provincial Medical Supplies Centre is in daily contact with suppliers to request urgent supply of outstanding deliveries and to deliver in terms of their state tender commitments," Botha said.

He said a large number of suppliers source their products from overseas countries like India and China, which has of late been delayed by volcanic ash air travel problems and the Transnet strikes, which affected the unloading of container shipments.

"The delays are practically from all suppliers of chronic medication," he said, adding that when the National Department of Health is informed of the unavailability of certain medicines, similar medicines are then imported from other countries.