No drug shortage for GP hospitals

The Gauteng Department of Health has dismissed claims that there is a shortage of the lifesaving cancer drug Cisplatin in hospitals.

The news caused panic among patients and the department moved swiftly to assure the public that there was no such shortage.

Cisplatin is used to increase the effectiveness of radiation treatment for cervical cancer.

Though the department’s Steve Mabona admitted to “challenges with supply”, which he said the national department was attending to, he said a shortage “was out of the question”.

Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu assured the public that drug stocks were at a satisfactory level in all health facilities and there was no need to panic.

Also read: No rotavirus outbreak in Gauteng, says dept

Earlier DA Gauteng health spokesperson Jack Bloom said Gauteng had run out of the drug.

Bloom said: “Cancer departments have experienced problems in getting the anti-cancer drug Cisplatin since the beginning of this year.”

“The hospitals experiencing this problem are the ones with cancer departments: Charlotte Maxeke and Steve Biko academic hospitals.”

He said the shortage was due to a tender being awarded to a company that did not have the capacity to supply the drug.

Also read: Health officials suspended

Bloom said arrangements had been made to import Cisplatin by 6 February “but many cervical cancer patients will suffer because the radiation treatment is less effective without this drug, and the cancer may recur”.

Bloom urged that tendering procedures for medical supplies be improved to ensure companies delivered all critical drugs.

“I am distressed that supplies of this crucial drug have been disrupted because of the national department’s poor tendering practice for medicine, which led to some medicine shortages last year as well.”

The department said it was monitoring its inventory.

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