Algarve’s HIV drug shortage hits national headlines

A severe shortage of antiretroviral drugs for HIV patients in the Algarve hit the national headlines this week – with leading media outlets explaining the issue sees Algarve hospitals actually breaking the law.

Diário de Notícias explains the legal minimum for stocks is a three-month supply. But the Algarve has run so low, patients are only being given enough pills to get through five days.

This means HIV-sufferers are forced to go back and forth to hospitals every week, explains Pedro Silvério Marques for GAT, the Grupo de Ativistas em Tratamentos (activists in treatment).

As Marques explained: “There have always been some problems in the Algarve, but they used not to be so consistent. Since the Algarve hospital management board (CHA) was created, the situation has been getting worse. We’ve heard the minister saying the Algarve’s biggest problem was the creation of CHA, but he still hasn’t scrapped it.”

The CHA, meantime, has said this is a temporary problem that should soon be rectified.

The explanation has not stopped complaints, which have been directed in writing to both local health authorities and the minister in Lisbon, adds DN.