Empowering Pharmacists: South African Court Ruling Greenlights Pharmacist-Prescribed ARVs

By Danélia Botes

August 16, 2023

In a landmark decision, the Pretoria High Court has given the South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC) the judicial green light to implement its Pharmacy-Initiated Management of Antiretroviral Treatment (PIMART) initiative. This allows specially trained pharmacists to manage and prescribe medicine to patients with HIV and tuberculosis.

Judge Elmarie van der Schyff dismissed an application by a doctors’ organisation, the IPA Foundation, to set aside the programme, stating the need for wider access to first-line ART and TPT therapy on a community level is a “dire need”.

The PIMART training course was created to qualify pharmacists in safely and effectively assisting in providing ART, upon successful completion.

This ruling is in line with the World Health Organization’s vision to promote widely accessible primary health care and recognizes the critical role pharmacies play in meeting healthcare needs, especially during pandemics like COVID-19.

Professor Francois Venter, former President of the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society and current Director of Ezintsha, an HIV research organisation, has emphasized the crucial role of pharmacies and pharmacists in expanding HIV services worldwide.

Let’s celebrate this win.

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