Gauteng health dept puts measures in place to mitigate medicine shortages

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  • Gauteng has been experiencing medicine shortages since March. 
  • Patients are being given alternative medication.
  • Other suppliers are also now being asked to manufacture the products as a measure. 

The Gauteng Department of Health says the province's public health facilities are experiencing medicine shortages, but measures are in place to mitigate the challenge. 

These included the buying out of contracted suppliers, requesting suppliers who were not contracted to manufacture some of the products, engaging with suppliers and also penalising them for late deliveries, the department's spokesperson, Kwara Kekana, said in a statement on Saturday. 

As of March, the department has been experiencing challenges in the dispensing of, among others, medication to fight tuberculosis, schizophrenia and asthma. 

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"The shortage of medication affected few patients who were given alternative medication. In an instance where patients could not be given alternative medication, they are referred back to their treating doctors to recommend an alternative course of treatment," it said. 

The department added the medicine shortages were as a result of multiple challenges, including, among others, the lack of active pharmaceutical ingredients, an inconsistent supply from manufacturers of finished products and increased demand because of Covid-19 as most countries were stockpiling. 

Lockdown has also played a role in the shortages as manufacturers were not operating at full capacity due to regulations. 

Some medication was not being contracted because most manufacturers were not bidding for tenders, the department said.

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