Pharmacists Raise Concerns About the SA Post Office's Plan to Distribute Chronic Medication at Branches

Pharmacists Raise Concerns About the SA Post Office's Plan to Distribute Chronic Medication at Branches

  • Government's decision to allow South Africa Post Office branches to distribute chronic medication is a cause of concern for pharmacists
  • Pharmacists are worried that the post office branches will not be able to properly handle medication under the regulations provided by SAHPRA
  • However, the SA Post Office is not concerned, stating that staff members who will be dealing with the distribution of chronic meds will be trained

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JOHANNESBURG - Pharmacists are raising red flags over the Government's decision to allow the collection of chronic medication at the South African Post Office branches across the country.

They have highlighted that keeping chronic medication at the Post Office branches could bring issues of incorrect storage of the medication. The new Post Office collection points will be available to patients that previously queued at government clinics to fetch their medication on a monthly basis.

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Pharmacists worried, collection of chronic meds, Post Office
Over 300 branches of the South Africa Post Office will soon start distributing chronic medication to patients who used to collect at clinics. Image: @SAPostOfice
Source: Twitter

According to SA Government website, the service will be available at over 342 Post Office branches and it will be geared toward people that live and work near those branches. The Western Cape is the only province that will not be included.

Patients will have to organise with their local clinic to have their medication re-routed to the Post Office of their choice. They will receive an SMS once their medication has been delivered and will have 14 days to collect their meds or else it will be returned to the Department of Health.

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Ivan Kotzé, executive director of the Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa (PSSA) questions whether the SA Post Office will be able to handle the distribution of chronic meds especially since the handling of medication is regulated, according to BusinessInsider.

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Kotzé is of the opinion that the SA Post Office will not be able to compile with the regulations set out by the South African Health Products Authority (SAHPRA) that requires medication to be placed under specific temperatures.

Kotzé added that if pharmacists are forced to distribute medication via the post office it could present a practice risk for the pharmacists involved.

Vincent Tlala, Registrar and CEO of the South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC) stressed the importance of storing medication correctly and should be under the supervision of a pharmacist or a registered health professional allowed to handle medication.

The SA Post Office stated that there is no cause for concern because the staff members who have been assigned to the distribution of chronic medication have been given additional training.

South Africans share their thoughts

South Africans have agreed with the pharmacist and believe that the post office branches will not be able to handle the distribution of medication.

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Here are some comments:

@StopTheBills said:

"How would patients report any new symptoms or adverse drug reactions? What about the cold chain and temperature controls for meds? The same SAPO struggled to pay out R350 grants. Pls please please, let us consider rural post offices without stable electricity or network coverage."

@j61930346 said:

"They are right cause most post office branches don't have security and fences, for example, Mulima Post Office has no security, and no fence so everything is not safe."

@ExactlyAlice said:

"They won't be able to provide cold storage to medication that needs it. This is going to kill people. It should be stopped."

@garethoc said:

"Good luck with that still waiting for a parcel from 2018."

Post Office employee and accomplice who withdrew SASSA funds arrested by Hawks for fraud

In other SA Post Office-related news, Briefly News previously reported that the Hawks arrested a post office employee and her alleged accomplice for fraud on Tuesday 24 May. The pair allegedly withdrew South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) grant funds.

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The accused, 43-year-old Thandeka Dibakwane and 42-year-old Lizzy Precious Smangele Nyathi, appeared in the Bushbuckridge Magistrate's Court on Wednesday and were granted bail R20 000 each.

They face charges of fraud, theft, and conspiracy to commit fraud. According to the spokesperson for Hawks Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi the women redistributed social grant cards by circumventing the system. They were allegedly helped by an employee of the Shatale Post Office in Mpumalanga, according to News24.

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Source: Briefly News

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