The health department confirmed that the men were caught with ARVs valued at R200 000 and believed to be destined as an ingredient in ‘whoonga’ which contains the ARV stocrin, dagga, Strepsils (throat lozenges) and rat poison.
Fidel Hadebe, spokesperson for the health department said there was concern that these actions could have an effect in the fight against HIV.
‘Since his appointment as health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has been working tirelessly in ensuring that ARVs are available to those who are in need of them. Recently, the health minister succeeded in massively bringing down the cost of ARVs as part of his efforts to ensure that these life-saving drugs are available to those who need them,’ said Hadebe.
He appealed to patients on ARV treatment to assist the department in ensuring that the life saving treatment does not end up in the wrong hands.
‘Health workers are also expected to be vigilant and professional in their dispensing of these drugs,’ he said.
Last year numerous provinces experienced drug shortages and stock outs of ARVs and other medicines that left patients without treatment.
Hadebe commended the police force for its work in cracking down on drug abuse. He said his department was confident that others responsible for using ARVs in manufacturing ‘whoonga’ would be caught.
According to recent reports a third man who was already in police custody had been implicated in the use of ARVs in the production of the drug.