N$400 Million Approved for Buying Medicines

In an attempt to avert a national crisis stemming from the current high demand for pharmaceuticals, the Tender Board has approved a N$400 million spending on medicines by the Ministry of Health and Social Services.

Namibia still imports about 99 per cent of its required medicinal drugs.

Media reports last week suggested that the Central Medical Store (CMS), which is the main legal supplier of medicines to all public health facilities in the country, was running out of stock.

It was reported that the life-saving antiretrovirals (ARVs) were among those in short supply.

Clarifying the matter on Friday, Tonata Ngulu, the Chief Pharmacist at the CMS, said the public – especially HIVAids patients – could breathe a collective sigh of relief now that the Tender Board had approved permission to issue a tender for the supply of ARVs.

CMS ensures that all required medicines listed on the Nemlist of the health ministry are promptly acquired through appropriate procurement laws and delivered to all state health facilities as per their request without any delays.

Ngulu said CMS would utilise the allocated funds by ensuring that all required medications are procured and dispensed to health facilities without any delay.

Furthermore, he said the approved companies have been given the estimated quantities and were able to inform the manufacturers to manufacture, reserve and deliver ARVs to the ministry according to a delivery schedule set up by CMS.

The ministry assured the nation that some ARV medications were in adequate supply at CMS and all those people who were informed otherwise are invited to visit the store to confirm the availability of such medications for themselves.

Similarly, Ngulu explained that medicines listed as out of stock by CMS are mainly drugs that have been taken off the manufacturing list and an alternative is being provided by the manufacturer. “Moreover, in contrast to reports that the ministry has run out of essential medications, there are cases where tenders are unable to acquire all required medications due to manufacturing constraints or they are in small quantities, ” he said.

There was also a list of ARV medications that was tendered for but no stock was received at all.

“CMS has to go back to the drawing board to seek means to acquire such medicines. In the meantime alternative medicines have been provided to health facilities,” he said.

He denied that ARVs, the treatment for HIVAIDS patients, has ever been out of stock, adding that those drugs are among the ones most produced by manufacturers. He also clarified that ARV testing kits that have also been reported to be out of stock were in adequate supply at CMS, which upon request from the various health facilities would immediately be dispensed to them.

Source : New Era