Pharmacies around Malta are set to be restocked with HIV medication on Monday after emergency deliveries from Portugal and the UK arrived on Saturday, health authorities have confirmed. 

A spokesperson for the Health Ministry told Times of Malta that stocks of HIV mediation were exhausted on Friday, however following intervention from the Central Processing and Supplies Unit, Mater Dei hospital is now “in a position to give stock to all the patients that are entitled and due”.

“As from Monday, all the concerned pharmacies will be supplied with adequate stock. This is in fact one of the novelties of the new system we are rolling out, which will also include new and more convenient medication, for which Malta is investing over €3 million,” the spokesperson said. 

While the spokesperson did not specify which medications had been restocked, it was noted that this included a new modern regimen of treatment for people living with HIV. 

The ministry added that concerns about the impact of Brexit, particularly with the pharmaceutical market had been raised with the European Commission and that ad hoc solutions and derogations were being proposed for states like Malta, Ireland and Cyprus who face challenges in sourcing their products from other markets. The proposals are expected to be published in the coming weeks. 

HIV prevention NGOs raised the alarm when patients encountered difficulties in filling their usual subscriptions on December 9. 

That same week NGOs also reported that a number of people had resorted to crowdsourcing their medication from kind strangers willing to donate the medicine in order to meet their required doses. 

Health authorities maintain that HIV medication shortages were the result of stockpiling in the UK as well as transportation delays caused by the looming end of the Brexit transition period. 

While health services are beginning to roll out a new treatment regime for people living with HIV, activists are concerned that the abrupt switch will cause some patients to change their medication without an appropriate follow-up with clinicians available.

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