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Medicine prices up more than 300% in Sudan – pharmacies strike

January 25 - 2018 KHARTOUM
File photo
File photo

The pharmaceutical sector in Sudan is witnessing an unprecedented price increase by more than 300 per cent and scarcity of a number of chronic disease treatments and life-saving medicines. On Wednesday a number of pharmacies in Khartoum state carried out a six-hour partial strike from work in protest against the crisis in the medicine sector.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, Dr Nasri Morgos, the former head of the Private Pharmacies Association, held the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Sudan responsible for the rising prices of medicines. He explained that the Ministry of Finance has stopped providing the US Dollar for importation of medicines since December.

Dr Morgos said that the pharmaceutical companies resort to obtaining their US Dollar needs from the parallel market at a price exceeding SDG 35. He attributed the scarcity of a number of major medicines of medical supplies and health insurance to the reluctance of the Bank of Sudan to provide the US Dollar.

High prices

He warned of the negative effects of high prices of medicines and their scarcity on those suffering from chronic diseases. Dr Morgos described the campaign organised by a committee of competent authorities on pharmacies as a misleading attempt to hold the pharmacists responsible for the wrong policies of the government.

He ridiculed the attempts of the authorities to oblige companies to sell medicines in accordance with the official indicative rate of the US Dollar which amounts to SDG 21 while the companies obtain their need of the Dollar from the parallel market at a price of more than SDG 35.

He predicted in an interview with Radio Dabanga that medicine companies will refrain from selling medicines in the event the authorities do not concede from this trend.

Also he predicted an increase in the prices of medicines because of the steady increase in the price of the Dollar.

‘Destruction of medicine sector’

In a statement the Sudanese Communist Party in Khartoum accused the government of “organised destruction of the medicine sector through the authorities’ administrative failure, financial corruption, and trading in the lives of citizens”.

The statement accused Khartoum's health ministry of “cracking down on medicine sector and seeking to liquidate medical supplies so as to buy medicines from commercial companies rather than medical supplies”.

It attributed the current medicine crisis to the low share of health in the current budget. The statement described the campaigns against pharmacies under the pretext of controlling prices as “a miserable attempt of the authorities to cover up the scarcity of medicines and their high prices”.

The statement added that the partial strike of the owners of pharmacies on Wednesday was in response to the campaigns of the consumer protection bureau against the pharmacies

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