The products mostly affected by these problems are Citalopram, Fluoxetine, Haloperidol and Olanzapine. However, shortages relating to Amitriptyline, Chlorpromazine, Clonazepam and Risperidone have been addressed in the short term, the department claims.

The National Department of Health is sourcing drugs from overseas in order to meet unmet

There are eight companies contracted to produce these medicines and they have been unable to supply the quantities that have been ordered. The companies are Dezzo Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Pharmaceuticals, Aspen Pharmacare, Gulf Drug, Sanofi Pharmaceuticals, Cipla, Ranbaxy and Austell. This shortage affects all provinces and may also affect availability in the private health sector.

To address this shortage, the DoH “has identified stock from other manufacturers (none contracted) that we have been purchasing to address the shortfall in supply. Unfortunately, other manufacturers do not produce the high volumes used in the State and their quantities will be limited.”

The department claims to be managing the available stock such that facilities have adequate amounts for their patients. “We are sourcing stock from other countries where this is available to address the current shortage.”

“Medicine shortages are a global problem affecting all countries from time to time. The medicine supply chain is very long and complex which begins with the production of base chemicals, synthesis of these chemicals into active pharmaceutical ingredients, production of the pharmaceutical dosage form and, finally transportation of the finished product from the country of production to other countries. A breakdown in any part of this chain will result in medicine shortages in a health facility.”