Zimbabwe Pharmacies Facing HIV/AIDS Drug Shortages
Pharmaciesin Zimbabweare facing serious drug shortages as a result of the country's ongoing economiccrisis, and at least half of drug supplies in the country's pharmacies are outof stock, state media reported Tuesday, the SAPA/Independent Online reports. Treatments for HIV/AIDS,malaria, diabetes, high blood pressure and epilepsy now are found in only aboutone in four pharmacies in the country, according to a recent survey. Theremaining drugs have become too costly for most higher-paid workers to afford,according to media reports.
"We have applied for foreign currency, and we are waiting forallocations," Ishe Nkomo, president of the Pharmaceutical Society ofZimbabwe, said, adding, "Most pharmacies can no longer afford to importdrugs, so the few that are still importing tend to be expensive." Thesituation likely will have negative effects for the one in seven Zimbabweansestimated to be living with HIV, according to the SAPA/Online. Onemonth's prescription of Stalenev 30, a common antiretroviral drug, now costs 85million Zimbabwean dollars, or $2,833. More than 90,000 Zimbabweans arebelieved to be taking antiretrovirals.
The country also is experiencing a shortage of malaria medications. Simple mosquitorepellents that are applied to the body now cost an average of 20 millionZimbabwean dollars, or $667, per bottle in available locations, the SAPA/Onlinereports. Many doctors and nurses also have left the country in search of bettersalaries as a result of the economic situation. Reports from Britain estimate that at least 16,000 nursesfrom Zimbabwehad been granted working visas during the last eight years (SAPA/IndependentOnline, 1/9).
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