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Sudan pharmacists: Medicine import prices to spike

February 15 - 2019 KHARTOUM
A customer buys medication at a pharmacy in Khartoum, January 2013 (The Globe and Mail)
A customer buys medication at a pharmacy in Khartoum, January 2013 (The Globe and Mail)

The import prices of medicines, of which the quantities have rapidly decreased over the past months, face another increase. The price hike is “a disaster”: “The government lets its citizens bear the consequences of its failure in economic policies.”

The Central Pharmacists Committee announced that the National Council for Medicines and Toxins has approved a new undeclared increase in the prices of imported medicines by between 30 and 57 percent, which it has called a disaster for the Sudanese people.

In its statement yesterday, the committee also announced the exit of Indian and English pharmaceutical companies from the Sudanese market, such as Sun Pharma, which specialises in psychiatric and neurological medicines. Also the scientific office of the Saudi company Jamjoom in Khartoum has had to shut down.

The committee further warned of the dire consequences of the exit of companies specialising in psychiatric and ophthalmology medicines.

Earlier this week, the Central Pharmacists Committee in Sudan expressed its concern about the exit and the closure of companies and the impact this will have on Sudanese people.

The shut-downs are caused by the Sudanese Pound’s steady drop against the US Dollar. Pharmaceutical companies have reportedly imported less to no medicines which has led to a scarcity of a number of medicines.

The Central Bank of Sudan and Market Makers Committee have identified the price of the import of medicines to stand at SDG 47.5 per Dollar for medicine importers.

Earlier, the Sudanese Coucil for Medicines and Toxines instructed pharmaceutical companies to sell all medicines in the stores at the minimum price.

Already in August 2018, people in Sudan complained about the lack and high prices of lifesaving medicines to tread chronic conditions such as blood pressure and diabetes, as well as medicines related to epilepsy and other neurological and psychological conditions.

Liquidity

Economists had predicted a new wave of price rises in the coming days after the cost of fuel to the industrial sector increased by SDG 19 ($0.40*) per gallon of diesel for industry and mining.

Recently new bank notes were printed by the Central Bank of Sudan, a necessity to tackle the hyperinflation, that has been coupled with a chronic shortage of hard cash. Banks have limited cash withdrawals so traders and the public prefer to keep their cash at home, rather than deposit it into banks.

Businessmen in Sudan told Radio Dabanga that an initiative of depositing their money in banks has “miserably failed to make any noticeable impression” on the ongoing liquidity crisis.

Public anger in Sudan has been building up over price rises and other economic hardships, including expensive bread, fuel and medicines, as well as limits on cash withdrawals over a liquidity crisis. Pharmacies in the Sudanese capital Khartoum as well as the other states are witnessing lack of many types of medicines amid rising prices.

As effective foreign exchange rates can vary widely in Sudan, Radio Dabanga bases all SDG currency conversions on the Market Makers Mechanism-determined daily US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS).


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