RADHICA DE SILVA
Even though some pharmacies in South Trinidad have run short of some drugs distributed to the public under the Chronic Disease Assistance Programme (CDAP), Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh is insisting there is no drug shortage.
Among the drugs, not available are simvastatin used for cholesterol, sodium valproate, sulpiride, methyldopa, blood glucose testing strips, trifluoperazine, insulin 70/30 and Ventolin inhaler used by asthma patients.
President of the Pharmacy Board of T&T Andrew Rahaman said he has received reports of some pharmacies running short on one drug.
While there was a temporary shortage of sulpiride, Rahaman said that has now been resolved.
"I am also aware that people have been ordering certain quantities of drugs and were not getting the quantities they wanted," he added.
"I am not too sure they are doing too much of a good job of assessing how much drugs you need. They are doing it based on use that you are showing but in spite of that people have been complaining that they not getting enough. At one time recently they were running out before they could get back more but that has been resolved," he added.
But a pharmacist in Penal who requested anonymity said some of these drugs have been in short supply over the past six months.
But contacted for comment, Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh said there was no shortage of CDAP drugs.
In a statement issued later, the Ministry said an ample supply of all drugs on the schedule are available nationally.
"This includes CDAP drugs that are used to treat heart disease, cholesterol, asthma and diabetes."
The Ministry also reminded pharmacy operators that "while the provision of CDAP supplies to pharmacies is done through a cyclical process, interim reorders for specific drugs may be requested, as per established processes, and the request will be fulfilled."
"Pharmacies should submit their requests for re-orders of medication to the National Insurance Property Development Company Limited (NIPDEC) well in advance of the depletion of stocks so that there will be a consistent supply of critical drugs for the public," the Ministry added.
Members of the public were advised to visit alternate pharmacies in their areas to have their prescriptions filled through CDAP.
"While all pharmacies may not have every CDAP drug in stock at a particular time, the Ministry assures that there is an adequate national stock of all CDAP drugs," the Ministry said.
It added that the Ministry will ensure a robust pharmaceutical supply chain and the delivery of quality health care for the benefit of the citizens.