Please Be Patient While We Deal With Medication Shortages | Western Cape Government

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Please Be Patient While We Deal With Medication Shortages

20 April 2015

The Western Cape Government Department of Health is working hard in actively managing the current national shortage of medication on an ongoing basis daily, in the best interests and safety of our patients. These shortages are expected to last a few more months and the Department acknowledges that this is frustrating at times, especially when medication is not always available at facilities.


  • Suppliers are delivering small amounts as they become available to the Department.
  • The Department distributes smaller amounts of medication to ensure that all facilities receive.
  • Alternative medication is offered to patients where possible.
  • Contracts with pharmaceutical companies have been put in place to address medication shortages.
  • Authorities (Head of Health, MEC of Health and National Minister) are fully aware of the situation and are regularly informed of progress.
  • Patients may obtain a prescription from the Department and then buy their medication from a private pharmacy. These costs cannot be claimed back from the Department.


  • Patients are sometimes given smaller quantities of certain medications at their visits to a health facility or clinic. This means they have to return more frequently to receive their medication. While this is inconvenient, please bear in mind that the Department wants all patients to be treated equally and fairly.
  • Patients may sometimes be given medication that looks different from their regular medication – please discuss these changes with the doctor or pharmacy staff.
  • Although we are managing the situation, the shortage is expected to continue for at least a few more months.


  • When you collect your medication, please inform the pharmacy staff of any unused medication at home. Rather take this medication first before collecting more at the facility.
  • Discuss your chronic medication with the doctor or pharmacist at your nearest healthcare facility.
  • Report any problems to the Hotline number 0860142142.

The Department apologises for any inconvenience these medication shortages may have caused and thanks all patients for their ongoing patience and understanding.

Media Enquiries: 

Mark van der Heever
Deputy Director: Communciations
Tel: 021 483 3245