The National Department of Health says a variety of factors has led to a shortage of government-provided medicines in South Africa.
Oral contraceptives such as Oralcon and Nordette have been out of stock or undersupplied in public health facilities.
Pain medication such as Tramadol and chronic medicines used for various mental health conditions are also facing a shortage.
The department's Khadija Jamaloodien says the stock-out can be attributed to several factors.
These include a delay in the awarding of contracts to pharmaceutical manufacturers and a strike by some of the chosen contract suppliers.
Jamaloodien, the department's director for affordable medicines, says high demand and regulatory constraints also exacerbate the problem.
The problem with oral contraceptives is, again, pharma care having the strike.— Khadija Jamaloodien, Director for affordable medicines -Department of Health
Our suppliers that were contracted do not have the capacity to meet the demands. We do get supply, but it's erratic.— Khadija Jamaloodien, Director for affordable medicines - Department of Health
There are multiple factors that lead to a stock-out... Everything that could've gone wrong, went wrong.— Khadija Jamaloodien, Director for affordable medicines - Department of Health
At the same time, the Western Cape health department says it apportions its stock to various clinics and hospitals when the medicine supply is erratic.
Kim Lowenherz, the director of pharmacy services in the province, says there are penalties for late or partial delivery by pharma suppliers.
Listen to the discussion on Today with Kieno Kammies:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Tender delays, strikes to blame for shortage of government-provided medicines