An anonymous tip sent to CI News claimed that due to resignations and retirements, the pharmacy no longer had any qualified pharmacists.
However, Iro said the ministry in fact had the situation under control.
She said Health continued to be supported by a visiting pharmacist from New Zealand who assisted the ministry with its essential medicine list and other work involving pharmacy regulations and Pharmacy Board functions.
The New Zealander visited the ministry every six months and was available for support online, she said.
“The Ministry of Heath has a chief pharmacist under employment.
“A Cook Islander pharmacist has resigned for personal reasons and the pharmacy staffing is reduced by an additional retirement and hence some changes to hospital pharmacy’s opening hours will be made.”
Despite the changes and challenges caused by the situation, she assured the public that the Ministry of Health in fact had everything under control.
“We have another young man who has been selected to undertake pharmacist training in Fiji in 2017, he is currently with Ministry Of Health where he has worked since last year.
“We need at least one chief pharmacist who can be supported by pharmacy technicians.
“New hours will mean no pharmacy services will be available at the Rarotonga hospital on weekends, but medications will be available and will be dispensed by the nursing staff.”