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In January, the Medical Benefits Scheme (MBS) faced a depletion of Lantus (both vials and Pens/cartridges), a type of insulin listed in the MBS Formulary.
MBS dedicates approximately nineteen million Eastern Caribbean dollars towards procuring pharmaceuticals, addressing eleven chronic conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
While reassuring beneficiaries that the required medication for managing chronic conditions is available and accessible through the MBS network of pharmacies, MBS acknowledged a recent challenge related to the availability of Lantus (Insulin Glargine).
In a release dated January 2, the state-owned company explained, “this shortage was a consequence of the global supply issues previously addressed in our August 2023 Press Release, impacting not only Antigua & Barbuda but also the wider Caribbean.”
During the week of January 15, 2024, both presentations of Lantus (vials and Pens/cartridges) recorded zero stock at the Central Procurement Unit.
On January 16, 2024, MBS Pharmacies received limited stocks, with 33 pens available at Clare Hall Pharmacy and 6 pens at Bolans Pharmacy. Some private pharmacies also reported restricted supplies.
Patients facing an immediate shortage were given the option to purchase the required insulin at private pharmacies, with full reimbursement. For those in need, physicians were contacted to explore alternative insulin options.
“In response to the shortage, MBS took proactive measures, and a shipment of Lantus (both presentations) was received on January 30, 2024. By January 31, 2024, all MBS Pharmacies were fully restocked, ensuring that beneficiaries can now access the required medication without any interruption,” disclosed the release.
It emphasized, “The Medical Benefits Scheme is committed to providing comprehensive healthcare solutions to its beneficiaries, ensuring access to vital medications for the effective management of chronic conditions.”