THE shortage of medicine has damaging effect on patients, especially the delay in antibiotic treatment for bacterial illness, a doctor says.
Dr Patrick Koliwan of the Kaugere Urban Clinic in Port Moresby told the Public Accounts Committee inquiry into the procurement, supply and distribution of medicine that many people who sought treatment at the clinic came from poor areas in the Moresby South electorate.
“Most come from single-income families earning less than K400 per fortnight.
“The cumulative costs of travel, consultation and drugs can set a single family back by almost K50 – around 13 per cent of their income,” he said.
“So often, these patients will delay treatment until they have enough money to pay for the prescriptions.
“And this often means that their condition deteriorates.”
Koliwan said even staff at the clinic were affected negatively by the drug shortages.
“It compromises the quality of care that we can deliver and reflects poorly on the level of services we offer to the community,” he said.
Koliwan said the long-term repercussions of a prolonged drug shortage included:
- Reduced compliance for chronic illness that require lifetime treatment;
- deterioration of acute conditions into chronic illness;
- deterioration of chronic conditions into irreversible terminal stages; and,
- Development of drug resistance.