South Africa has ran out of cancer drugs

The shortage has also affected children and those with slow spreading cancers

South Africa has ran out of essential medications in both public and private hospitals. The medicines include pain medicines, contraceptives, psychiatric and depression medicines.

The list of 150 medicines that have ran out include:

Morphine powder

Injectable contraceptives



Ponstan suppositories

Panamor suppositories

Pain patches

Opioids like Targinact


TheĀ Saturday Star newspaper reports that Pharmacies across the country are scrambling for medication and are borrowing each other where possible. Generic medicines are not always the best alternatives.

Causes of the Shortage

The shortages of medicines can be traced to the effects of Covid-19, which disrupted supply chains, as most of the ingridients used in South African medicines are sourced from overseas.

The decision by China to close factories that make ingredients ahead of the Beijing Olympics worsened the problem.

The South African government relied on one supplier for contraceptive medicines and when that factory closed, other manufactures could not meet demand.