Joburg clinics running low on ARVs

2011-05-11 12:50

The Gauteng department of health said today that it was dispatching an antiretroviral (ARV) drug to clinics across Joburg that had run low on stock.

“We have done a quick investigation and established that the clinics have not kept sufficient stock,” said spokesperson Simon Zwane.

“We will be dispatching more drugs to those clinics starting today already and continuing tomorrow,” he said.

DA spokesperson Jack Bloom said many Gauteng clinics were running out of Efavirenz – trade name Stocrin – a vital part of a drug cocktail used to treat Aids patients.

He said Malvern Clinic, east of Joburg, had only 35 packs left for its 55 daily patients.

“Instead of giving a 30-day supply, they are only giving 10 days and asking the patients to come back,” he said.

At Hillbrow Clinic, 300 packs were available for the 220 patients served daily by the pharmacy.

Bloom said patients were being given a one month supply instead of the prescribed three months supply.

“The Hillbrow dispensary supplies 30 Soweto clinics and 25 clinics in the Orange Farm area, but only has 30 packs and is turning down requests for extra supplies,” he said.

Bloom suggested that one of the suppliers, Aspen Pharmacare, was restricting supplies as it was owed money by the Gauteng health department.

Zwane rubbished these claims, saying that in the last two weeks, the department had paid more than R270 million for medications to suppliers, including the suppliers of Stocrin.

“What has happened is that the clinics have not been in communication with the suppliers and this is why we have a shortage,” he said.

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