Flu spreads as medicines run short

2009-06-17 00:00

SOME pharmacists in Pietermaritzburg say they have noticed an increase in the number of flu cases this year.

They say many people are holding off visiting the doctor because they are short of money, and this has meant that flu is being spread more widely before being brought under control in the people it infects. The growing number of cases has also meant that medication has been in short supply.

“It has been more severe this year,” said Daymed Pharmacy’s Kay Singh.

“There has been a shortage in medication because of the demand,” she said. “I don’t think it was anticipated that the demand would be this great.”

Shahveen Bhugwandeen of Northdale Pharmacy attributed the increase in cases to the cold weather and the unavailability of flu medication.

“We can’t get medication in bulk because manufacturers can’t supply,” he said. “The cost of whatever medication we do have is too expensive,” he added.

Bhugwandeen said many people are delaying treatment because they cannot afford the medication. “They do not treat it in time, and in doing that they pass it on to other people,” he added.

Bhugwandeen said he felt that the government and manufactu­rers had not contributed adequately in helping the poor by providing affordable medication.

Hassan Cassim of Clicks in the Liberty Midlands Mall said that while he has noticed an increase, his pharmacy has the medication to combat it.

“We see that people do not get vaccinated,” he said. “The number of people coming in for vaccinations has gone down.”

He said he noticed that the flu affects mainly middle-aged people and infants.

Another possible cause, he said, is climate change.

Yunus Chothia of Duzi Med Pharmacy said he has also noticed an increased incidence of flu because people are not being vaccinated.

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