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Global drug shortage affecting T&T

By Sue-Ann Wayow sue-ann.wayow@trinidadexpress.com

A WORLDWIDE shortage of drugs is having a direct effect on Trinidad and Tobago.

This according to chief executive officer of the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) Anil Gosine.

Since the beginning of the year, regional health authorities (RHAs) have been getting a limited supply of prescription drugs for patients, he said.

 Gosine said the SWRHA was told the limited supply was blamed on a global shortage.

The National Insurance Property Development Co  Ltd (Nipdec) provides pharmaceuticals  to RHAs through a contract with the Ministry of Health.

However, Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan said, he was told there was no shortage.

On Monday, nurses  at Ward One of the San Fernando General Hospital raised concerns with hospital administration over the lack of medication. The ward accommodates 26 patients. Gosine said the SWRHA had to purchase medication outside of the contract with Nipdec. Supplies were expected Monday.

Gosine said: “Nothing is wrong if we purchase pharmaceuticals outside of the contract with Nipdec. We will be reimbursed by the Ministry of Health. However, Nipdec would pay less for the drugs  based on the volumes they purchase. We would have to pay more, but it should not be that much more.”

 Khan when told of the issue responded via text message, saying, “All not true.”

He wrote: “I asked the deputy permanent secretary. He reported that Nipdec indicated  that there was no shortage of drugs.”

Attempts to get comments from Nipdec were futile.

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