Con­tin­ual medicine short­ages are caus­ing ‘dire siu­a­tion’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - AYANDA MKHWANAZI

AN­TIRETRO­VI­RAL ( ARV) and tu­ber­cu­lo­sis drug short­ages are set to con­tinue, with the po­ten­tial for as­so­ci­ated loss of life and im­pli­ca­tions for treat­ment de­fault­ing and con­se­quent drug re­sis­tance.

Mark Hey­wood, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of pub­lic in­ter­est law cen­tre Sec­tion27, said the sit­u­a­tion was dire.

“It’s very se­ri­ous. For a clinic to run out of ARVs or TB meds for two weeks is a cri­sis,” he said, adding that stock­outs were an in­jus­tice to those who re­lied on the medicine for sur­vival.

“There are costs to a per­son trav­el­ling to a clinic and when they ar­rive there they are told there are no medicines. This can have dire con­se­quences, such as peo­ple may stop tak­ing their meds.”

Bet­ter warn­ing sys­tems were needed, Hey­wood said, to iden­tify drug short­ages so that clin­ics weren’t caught off guard.

Hey­wood also be­moaned the lack of po­lit­i­cal will, which he said was caus­ing peo­ple to lose faith in the health sys­tem.

With World Aids Day on Tues­day, he said the chal­lenge was to fo­cus on what still needed to be done to sup­port peo­ple liv­ing with HIV, and to re­duce in­fec­tion num­bers.

The day should not be

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