Mental health: Are medicine shortages fuelling a shadow epidemic?

Mental health: Are medicine shortages fuelling a shadow epidemic?

Almost half of the most commonly used medications to treat mental illness in South Africa were out of stock in August, and many have been in short supply since March. Now, experts warn that amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the nation could see a “shadow epidemic” of psychiatric illness. Laura Lopez Gonzalez investigates.

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COVID-19: High prevalence found in Cape Town antibody study

COVID-19: High prevalence found in Cape Town antibody study

Initial results from an antibody survey conducted in the Cape Town Metro indicate that of 2 700 pregnant women and people living with HIV making use of the public healthcare system, 40% have previously been infected with SARS-CoV-2. Adele Baleta has the details.

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IN-DEPTH: The tangled web of medical device regulation in SA

IN-DEPTH: The tangled web of medical device regulation in SA

South Africa does not currently register medical devices. So what does it mean when the regulator announces that a new COVID-19 test or ventilator has been authorised? Catherine Tomlinson unpacks what is required to market a medical device in South Africa.

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1.3m switched to new ARV, but weight gain is a concern

1.3m switched to new ARV, but weight gain is a concern

Two years after it was announced that the ARV dolutegravir would become part of standard first line HIV treatment in South Africa, it is finally reaching significant numbers of people. But new research about a worrying side-effect, weight gain (particularly in women), has muddied its otherwise stellar reputation.

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Do we need the law to provide for a regular clinical medical procedure such as abortion?

Do we need the law to provide for a regular clinical medical procedure such as abortion?

With abortion services now available through telemedicine and the increasing practice of self-managed abortion, Marion Stevens asks if abortion law still has any relevance given these practices.

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SA to take part in two more COVID-19 vaccine trials

SA to take part in two more COVID-19 vaccine trials

South Africa is consolidating its place in the race for a COVID-19 vaccine with its participation starting from next month in two new international trials of vaccine candidates. Adele Baleta reports.

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IN-DEPTH: Vaginal ring ushers in new era in HIV prevention

IN-DEPTH: Vaginal ring ushers in new era in HIV prevention

A recent announcement about a vaginal ring to prevent HIV has AIDS activists and women’s sexual and reproductive health advocates excited. But where would this ring fit in South Africa’s HIV prevention programme? Amy Green investigates.

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Breakthrough hepatitis C medicines remain in regulatory limbo

Breakthrough hepatitis C medicines remain in regulatory limbo

Over the last decade the treatment of hepatitis C, a virus that can infect and damage the liver, has been revolutionised by a new class of medicines called direct acting antivirals. Catherine Tomlinson investigates the regulatory obstacles that are limiting access to these breakthrough medicines in South Africa.

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Opinion: Despite significant challenges, SAHPRA is on the right track

Opinion: Despite significant challenges, SAHPRA is on the right track

Recently the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority was criticised for not approving laboratory-based SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests. Spotlight Editor Marcus Low argues that despite the regulator’s capacity constraints, its flexible conservatism is something to be grateful for.

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COVID-19: Marketing of tunnels continues, despite criticism from WHO and scientists

COVID-19: Marketing of tunnels continues, despite criticism from WHO and scientists

The spraying of sanitisers on people in special tunnels or booths in order to combat COVID-19 has been condemned by scientists and government as unnecessary and potentially harmful. Some manufacturers nevertheless continue to market these products. Elna Schütz investigates.

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Op-ed: Why SECTION27 and TAC are involved in a court case about complementary medicines

Op-ed: Why SECTION27 and TAC are involved in a court case about complementary medicines

The Pretoria High Court this week heard a challenge to the regulation of complementary medicine in South Africa. Tendai Mafuma and Julia Chaskalson explains why the case is important and why SECTION27 and the TAC got involved.

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