GOVERNMENT has signed two-year framework contracts with local and foreign suppliers of medicines and has allayed fears that country will soon run out of drugs.
Deputy Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya said in an interview yesterday that there is no imminent shortage of medicine in the country and people should not panic.
Dr Chilufya said Government, through the Ministry of Health, has signed two-year contracts with local and foreign suppliers for a consistent and uninterruptable supply of essential medicines.
He was reacting to media reports suggesting that Zambia will face a serious countrywide medicine crisis starting next month because suppliers have refused to send drugs to the Ministry of Health owing to debt.
“There is no looming shortage of medicine in the country, neither this year nor next year. Medical supplies in the country are stable and so people should not panic,” he said.
Dr Chilufya also said the ministry has 90,000 units of essential drugs in stock and 228 units of anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs, translating into supplies of over six months.
He said Government has prioritised accessibility to affordable medicine countrywide and will not allow any shortages.
Dr Chilufya also said Government is not in any serious debt that could lead to a shortage of medicine, because it pays 50 per-cent upfront for medical supplies.
He said when debt accrues, the ministry manages it by getting support from the Ministry of Finance through the annual budget.