Shortage of psychiatric drugs alarms patients

Issued by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC
20 Sep 2019 in Press Statements

I am concerned by a shortage of psychiatric drugs in Gauteng hospitals and clinics that is alarming mental health patients.

Drugs in short supply include Fluoxetine and Citalopram, which are both SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) that ease symptoms of moderate to severe depression.

Mental health patients are being told that these essential drugs are in short supply, and are either given an inadequate supply or told to come back later.

I know of several patients who have gone to various hospitals and clinics trying to get anti-depressant medicine.

I have established that there is a problem with the nationally contracted supplier, so provinces are only getting limited supplies through quotations.

This is a distressing situation that affects very vulnerable people.

The Gauteng Health Department needs to be more active in buying drugs that are in short supply because of failures in national medicine contracts which happen far too often.

Before government introduces NHI, there is much they can do to address simple things like managing drug stocks.