Sunday, 23 October 2016

PATIENTS STRANDED AS DRUGS RUN OUT

THOUSANDS of mostly HIV patients have been left stranded after their medical service provider Premier Service Medical Investments (PSMI) has run out of drugs.

The patients, a majority of them civil servants say they are having a torrid time accessing drugs as the remaining pharmacies are overwhelmed leaving them with limited places to access their medication.

The pharmacies are also said to be having a limited range of drugs. In Bulawayo there were five PSMI pharmacies but one has closed down as the company says they have no manpower. The spokesperson for PSMI, Mrs Polite Mugwagwa confirmed the closure.

“We closed one pharmacy out of the five in Bulawayo due to a shortage of pharmacists. The closure is temporary until we can get another pharmacist. Nkulumane, Hillside, Standish and Robert Mugabe pharmacies are still open,” she said.

Twin Towers in Bulawayo was shut down a month ago. Mrs Mugwagwa said patients were not completely stranded and could still access drugs from the four pharmacies that remained in Bulawayo.

“We also have a drug delivery facility for chronic patients who agree to have their medication delivered at home. So people are not completely stranded. Please note that it is not possible for patients to be stranded given the number of options they have both within PSMI and outside of it,” she said.

Asked on what PSMI will do on the issue of patients who have chronic illnesses where people take lifelong medication such as ARV’s, she said they had adequate stocks.
“Our stocking policy prioritises the stocking of chronic medication. Please note, however, that we are a private healthcare services provider.

“Our patients can pay for medication and have an option to go to any other pharmacy so they never get stranded,” said Mrs Mugwagwa.

However, a client said they were subjected to long queues. A caller from Masvingo said they were facing a similar problem.

“We are only being accepted at Apple Pharmacy, which is the only place we can access drugs but the rest of the pharmacies are reluctant to serve us. So you find that there are long queues of people who want drugs at the pharmacy all the time,” said a client who refused to be named.

He said they have no other place to seek services and it is compromising their treatment patterns, especially those on ARVs. sunday news

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