Certain Medicines Limited, but Not Out of Stock
Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, pointed out that there are some medicines of limited stock, but medicines are not out of stock.
The limited medicine stock is the result of the National Department of Health awarding medicine contracts too late. The net effect is that pharmaceutical suppliers are supplying only limited quantities to the Cape Medical Depot each week, from where the stock is distributed to provincial health facilities, which means there are only sufficient supply for a week or two at a time. The supply of medicines is expected to improve toward the end of January 2013.
In accordance with the contract, penalties have been applied for certain out-of-stock medicines as of 1 December 2012.
The Cape Medical Depot is the depot for all medicine stocks for Western Cape Government Health. The depot is in regular contact with suppliers should there be a shortage of particular medicines. Minister Botha says: “We request a partial delivery of our medication order to cover our needs for a short period and then receive staggered deliveries of medicines. Should the relevant medicine be out of stock for a particular period of time, we consult our own pharmacologist expertise to substitute medicines for alternatives, so as to prevent a complete out of stock situation.”
The availability of medicines remains a responsibility of the National Department of Health, even though it is provided to Western Cape Health facilities.
Minister Botha addressed a written appeal to the National Minister of Health in July this year to put measures in place to ensure the effective and on-going provision of medication to patients, so as to ensure service delivery, but has received no response to date.