In-depth: The court ruling that gives qualifying pharmacists the green light to provide HIV and TB meds without a script

Specially trained and accredited pharmacists in South Africa will now be allowed to dispense medicines to prevent HIV and TB and to treat uncomplicated HIV without a doctor’s script. This is because the North Gauteng High Court this week ruled against an application by a private doctors’ association attempting to block the initiative. Catherine Tomlinson unpacks the judgment and rounds up some responses.

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Courts to decide whether pharmacists can start HIV medicines without a doctor’s script

In August 2021, the South African Pharmacy Council published legislation in the Government Gazette to enable pharmacists to prescribe and dispense antiretroviral medicines for the treatment and prevention of HIV. A legal challenge then put the brakes on the initiative and the courts are now set to decide whether it can continue. Catherine Tomlinson reports.

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In-depth: ‘Access not excess’ key to reducing antibiotic resistance in SA

Antibiotics play a vital role in the management of bacterial infections, reducing illness, and preventing many deaths. A 2011 report from the UK estimated that they have increased life expectancy by 20 years. However, the extensive use of antibiotics has resulted in drug resistance that threatens to reverse their life-saving power and if the situation is not reversed, it has been estimated that by 2050 as many as 10 million people will die annually of drug-resistant infections. Tiyese Jeranji looks at how antimicrobial resistance plays out in South Africa and the role of pharmacists in the fight against it.

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In-depth: Codeine regulation – a tussle between pain relief and addiction

Whether a pharmacist suggests it for treating headaches or whether a doctor prescribes it for managing post-surgical pain, chances are good that at some point you’ve taken a pain pill containing the opioid codeine. But since codeine can be addictive and withdrawal symptoms severe, regulation of the drug in South Africa has turned into a headache. Elri Voigt takes an in-depth look at the complexities of codeine regulation.

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