South Africa: Chris Hani Baragwanath Runs Out of Life-Saving Adrenaline After Gauteng Switches Suppliers

After doctors reported that the last vial of Adrenaline at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital was used up this week, the supplier, Pharma-Q, blamed load shedding for its failure to meet its contractual obligations.

An about-turn to downgrade a long-standing supplier of Adrenaline™ to Gauteng’s public hospitals in favour of a relatively unknown company has left the province’s key hospitals running critically low on the life-saving drug and raised more red flags of tender processes.

On Monday, 14 August, the last ampoule of Adrenaline was used up at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (CHBAH), according to doctors.

But frustrated staff have been raising the alarms of dwindling stocks from as far back as 8 May, with, they say, no intervention, no contingencies, no communication of a strategy forward, and outright blocks to activate emergency procurement processes as the stock-out crisis worsens.

Adrenaline injections are used as a first-line drug in cardiac arrest cases for resuscitation. It’s also used as a medical treatment for life-threatening emergencies.

As of 1 June 2023, the hospital had ordered 54,960 units based on consumption, but had only received 18,270 units, meaning only a third of their order had been filled. The hospital uses between 8,000 and 12,000 units of Adrenaline a month.

A letter widely circulated this week set out the damning outline of multiple failings that led to this looming medical disaster. The letter, written by Dr Jacqui…

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