South Africa is rapidly running out of stocks of second-and third-line antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). According Stop Stockouts Project (SSP), an organisation that monitors and reports on shortages and stockouts of vaccines, essential and chronic medicines in the Rainbow Nation, the drug crisis first emerged in August. Despite reporting to South Africa’s Department of Health (DoH) about the issue, SSP told Daily Sun of South Africa that there is no plan to address the shortages.
Lauren Jankelowitz, acting manager for the organisation and the CEO for the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society (SAHCS), said that coupled with this, there is a shortage of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API). “Responsibility for this monumental crisis lies at the door of the affected provincial and national departments of health. The SSP hotline for any party to report stockouts nationally has been inundated with calls and requests for assistance” Jankelowitz has been quoted as saying. The stockouts is believed to represent a national crisis in South Africa which is home to tens of thousands Malawians.
“A robust supply chain and uninterrupted access to medication is crucial in ending HIV. Stockouts of ARVs interrupt treatment, increasing the risk of opportunistic infections, treatment failure, ARV drug resistance and ultimately death,” said Jankelowitz.