–to replenish national supplies
THE Ministry of Health recently purchased about $3 billion worth of vital medication to replenish the national supplies, some of which were either expired or out of stock when the new government assumed office in August.
The new administration had been forced to discard $742 million worth of expired drugs, and had in some cases found little to no vital supplies in stock.
“We have just bought, I think, about $3 billion worth of essential medicines that would last us for maybe another six months. While we are going to deal with that, we are going to buy now to make sure that we have an annual supply, so that we don’t run out of these things,” Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony said during an outreach to two Essequibo hospitals on Saturday.
According to the Department of Public Information (DPI), Dr. Anthony also noted that issues with HIV pharmaceuticals and kits have been rectified.
“We have had problems with HIV medicines; again, not only the medicines, but kits were not available. So, we have now gotten back kits; you will get kits if you don’t have them,” he said.
Minister Anthony explained that during the period of shortage, the Government had sought assistance from neighbouring Suriname and Brazil, and now that it has replenished its stocks, it will be returning those supplies it had borrowed. He noted, though, that some medications to treat tuberculosis are still being sourced.
“We are making efforts to get them; so we’ve been proactive in trying to fix the medicine problem. I want to assure you that we are working hard at it,” Dr Anthony said.
The Ministry of Health has budgeted $3.2 billion of its overall $14.3 billion allocation to remedy drug shortages in the public healthcare system.