Some surgeries at the nation's hospitals are being pushed back because of a worsening drug shortage.
In a CNC3 News report last night, it was revealed that the National Insurance Property Development Company Ltd (Nipdec), which is charged with purchasing crucial medicine, had run out of money.
The report stated that public health facilities are running out of drugs such as antibiotics to treat patients and that in the past few weeks a number of surgeries were reduced due to a limited supply of drugs.
The report said Nipdec, which is responsible for placing the orders for the drugs with the pharmaceutical companies, ran out of money months ago.
It said medical suppliers are currently owed over $100 million by the Government, but had been paid 50 per cent of their outstanding monies over a month ago. The report said Nipdec cannot place orders for the drugs until it gets confirmation from the Ministry of Health.
Nidpec needs $1 billion annually to sufficiently supply pharmaceuticals and non-pharmaceuticals to the public health sector, but the company only gets half of that. The State company received just over $400 million to cover drugs and medical supplies in the last budget.
Close to $300 million was spent for medical and medical supplies within six months. The remainder was used to settle outstanding bills. Since then Nipdec has been without money to purchase drugs the report said, adding Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has advised Cabinet on the issue and a final decision would be made on Thursday.
Deyalsingh told CNC3 he would make a statement on the matter on Friday and would deal with what he described as a perennial problem.
But in response to the report later in the newscast, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said additional funding will be made available to Nipdec.
Calls to Deyalsingh's cellphone last night went unanswered.