ARV shortage monitored by health department

The national Department of Health is doing everything possible to managing a global shortage of Lamivudine, the Anti-retroviral drug used to treat HIV and AIDS.

The department says that over 90% of patients that are on ARV treatment receive the first-line option, which is a single dose. There is no shortage of this fixed-dose combination tablet of Tenofovir/Emtrictabine/Efavirenz.

Around 6% of patients are resistant to the first-line regimen and are placed on a second-line regimen which consists of Abacavir/Lamivudine or Zidovudine/Lamivudine.

A company called Mylan is contracted to supply the second-line regimen but are unable to do so due to the global shortage of Lamivudine.

The health department has suggested that officials reduce the dispensed quantity, whereby issuing only a month supply instead of a two or three-month supply.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) are not convinced by the reasoning that their entire orders are not being delivered and says that proper planning could have avoided the shortage.

Stock is being distributed around the country to ensure no clinic’s have stockpiles of the ARV.