While South Africa had a shortage of anti-retrovirals for children, fixed-dose anti-retrovirals were in adequate supply, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said in Pretoria yesterday.
“The shortage that the country has definitely experienced is that of Abacavir, used to treat children,” he said in Pretoria. He was responding to reports of anti-retroviral shortages in KwaZulu-Natal.
“This shortage is a result of circumstances beyond our control,” he said.
South Africa had three suppliers of Abacavir, but the companies had struggled to get the active pharmaceutical ingredients needed to produce both the syrup and tablet form of the medication.
“One supplier also suffered three batch failures, which they had to investigate before the stock could be released and this took a long time.”
Abacavir started being delivered again last Friday and stock levels should be completely back to normal by the end of June.
Motsoaledi said fixed-dose combination anti-retrovirals (FDC) — a single drug that combines multiple anti-retrovirals — had not run out.
“At no stage did we have a shortage of the FDC in the country,” he said, adding that government always held extra stock of this.
“There were more than adequate FDCs available in the facility, district, and indeed in the whole country.”
A patient at the Esigodeni Clinic in the Umgungundlovu district in KwaZulu-Natal told a broadcaster on Tuesday that she had not received her anti-retroviral medication.
Motsoaledi said the woman was not a patient at the clinic and was not on the medication of which there were shortages. — News24.