JHB clinics running low on ARVs

The Gauteng department of health on Wednesday said it was dispatching an anti-retroviral drug to clinics around Johannesburg that had run low on stock.

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

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

DA spokesman 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.

Severe ARV shortage in Johannesburg

He said Malvern Clinic, east of Johannesburg, 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. - (Sapa, May 2011)

Read more:
Management of HIV/Aids

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