The supply of medicines to clinics and hospitals in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo should be centralised, the DA said on Wednesday.

“In both the Eastern Cape and Limpopo, poor planning has led to tons of medication being destroyed while people go without basic life-saving drugs in clinics,” said health spokeswoman Patricia Kopane in a statement.

A central supply unit was the only way to stop critical shortages of medicines, she said.

The DA was continuing protests outside health department offices in both provinces on Wednesday, having begun on Tuesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, The New Age reported at least six provinces are running low on antiretrovirals (ARVs).

The life-prolonging drugs which were in short supply included tenofovir and abacavir, with about 1.7 million people in South Africa being on the state's ARV treatment programme, according to the report.

Health department spokesman Fidel Habebe said the matter was still being discussed at Cabinet level, but he hoped a statement would be issued by the health ministry by Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning. – Sapa