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Dept: ARV supply in Gauteng improves

2012-06-01 08:42

Johannesburg - The availability of the antiretroviral (ARV) tenofovir has improved in Gauteng over the past weeks, the provincial health department said on Friday.

"Pharmaceutical companies have been supplying the drug to the department's medical supply depot every week since the beginning of May," department spokesperson Simon Zwane said in a statement.

"The depot has in turn been distributing the drug to clinics and hospitals as soon as it receives it."

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane and Health MEC Ntombi Mekgwe visited the depots on Thursday following a report that at least six provinces were running low on ARVs. The life-prolonging drugs that were in short supply included tenofovir and abacavir.

However, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said there were sufficient stocks.

"We have called all ten depots in the country and all reported to have enough stock, of up to 20 000 units," he said.

"We are not running out of ARVs; the supply might be low, but this does not mean there are no drugs."
Zwane said there was a problem with the availability of abacavir.

"The department has been informed that manufacturers have been unable to supply the drug because of a worldwide shortage of ingredients to manufacture it," he said.

Mekgwe would outline the department's plan to ensure a reliable supply of medicines when she tables her budget in the provincial legislature on Friday, Zwane said.