Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital medical superintendent Collet Mawire has allayed fears among patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) that they are being given expired drugs.

Following concerns by some patients that the tablets distributed had a June 2018 expiry date, Mawire said the Medicine Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) tested the drugs and gave them another year.

“On the issue of ART tablets, we were given the go-ahead to distribute them following some tests after the expiry date. So it is above board, it is in order,” he said.

Provincial medical director Wensilus Nyamayaro said the procedure was that they should stop distributing either tablets or medicine on the day of expiry and send samples to MCAZ, which will advise whether to remove them from the shelf or to continue for a subscribed time. Some people on the ART programme had raised concerns about the tablets distributed last week which had a June 2018 expiry date.

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Getrude Shoniwa, who realised this anomaly when already at home, said the trust one has on the drugs has been eroded.

“Yes, they might say the drugs are still working, but the mere fact that I know that the date is way past what is written might not augur well with some of us since healing, be it spiritual or medical, is based on trust,” Shoniwa said. Another patient who requested anonymity said it was better to take expired tablets that nothing at all.