Pharmacists urged to improve management of medicines

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pretoria - Gauteng MEC for Health and Social Development, Qedani Mahlangu, has ordered pharmacists and clinics to improve the management of medicines.

Every year the department destroys tablets, vaccines and other refrigerated medicines which have expired and are longer deemed suitable for human consumption.

The value of destroyed medicine, said Mahlangu, was approximately 0.5 percent of the total drug expenditure or R5 million.

"Power failures and the delivery by suppliers of large quantities of medicines with short shelf life, are some of the most common reasons for the expiry of medicines which necessitates their destruction," the MEC said.

Other factors include poor management of medical stock and the shortage of pharmacists in clinics.

To overcome the identified problems, Mahlangu has instructed that more district pharmacists be appointed.

A total of 200 pharmacy assistants are currently in training to improve drug supply management and adherence to standard operating procures.

"District pharmacists are now required to undertake regular visits to wards and clinics to conduct stock checks and assist nurses in managing medicines," Mahlangu said.

She said the department has also undertaken to employ stores clerks at most facilities to minimise over-ordering of medical stock.

Back-up generators will also be procured to ensure constant power supply to pharmacy fridges in times of electricity black-outs.

Although the department is satisfied that current measures have worked well to prevent the administering of expired medicines to patients, the MEC would like to see improvements in the management of medicines to save costs