KwaZulu-Natal is facing a shortage of two drugs used in first-line antiretroviral treatment, tenofovir and abacavir, according to Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo.
Replying to a parliamentary question from DA MPL Makhosazana Mdlalose, Dhlomo said the stock of these drugs was low due to the suppliers not being able to meet demand.
Dhlomo said there was a shortage of tenofovir 300mg 30’s tablets in all provinces.
“The national suppliers of the drugs, Aspen Pharmacare and Sisonke Pharmaceuticals, have a 70/30 percent split on the contract.
“Until now, the situation in KwaZulu-Natal has been under control as stock is being redistributed among facilities and the provincial pharmaceutical supply depot is issuing supplies as per need,” said Dhlomo.
He said his department had developed contingency plans and finalised specific treatment protocol guidelines for clinicians to deal with the situation should it recur.
“As an interim measure to increase availability of supplies, Adcock Ingram Healthcare and Cipa Medpro have indicated that they will be able to assist us with manufacturing and supply”.
He said the national Department of Health was further investigating means for contractual supplies to increase production and supply.”
Dhlomo pointed out that there was no shortage of funds in KZN to dispense ARVs.
“Currently there is adequate funding in this regard”, he said.
However, Mdlalose expressed concern that there were shortages and low supplies of ARVs in the province.
“This is because we know what the consequences of the actual shortage and lack of supplies to those who are receiving them now will be.
“We would like the government to move swiftly to ensure that there are always sufficient supplies of ARVs in the province,” said Mdlalose. - The Mercury