Medicines disappear from Egypt’s pharmacies due to dollar crisis
Pharmacy - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: A total of 450 medicines are reportedly unavailable in Alexandria’s pharmacies due to U.S. dollar shortage in Egypt, Secretary-General of Pharmacist Syndicate branch in the Mediterranean city Youssef Bedeir said Friday.

“There are alternatives to around 300 out of 450 medicines, but the rest disappeared from the pharmacies nationwide,” Bedeir told Youm7, adding that most of the unavailable drugs are for chest diseases and allergies.

“Avirin drug (for Sinus disease) disappeared from the market two years ago,” Bedeir continued, noting that other medical substances have been unavailable in pharmaceutical companies which stopped producing drugs due to rise in packing prices. Those companies import raw materials to produce the medicine and pay in U.S. dollar.

Bedeir noted that the syndicate has asked the Ministry of Health to increase the prices of drugs to cope with the increasing value of the dollar against the Egyptian pound. The Ministry announced Feb. 29 raising the price of 54 medicines.

In Upper Egypt’s Fayoum, a total of 500 medicines are unavailable for the patients due to the U.S. dollar crisis, said the Syndicate representative in the governorate Rabei Swidan Friday, noting that 193 drugs have no alternatives.

Endoxan -Asta (1 gm) for cancer and other drugs for children and elderly people have disappeared from the market, Swidan said.

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) struggles to provide hard currency to other banks, so the importers find no dollar liquidity required to buy their raw materials. Egypt’s net international reserves reached $16. 5 billion at the end of February, 2016, CBE said in a statement Friday.

The official rate is now 7.8 to the dollar while in the black marker, the rate is 9.6.

Pharmaceutical Chamber of Federation of Egyptian Industries head Ahmed al-Ezabi told Youm7 Wednesday that the chamber will do a study to determine a fund package in dollar that will be given to the Pharmacists’ Syndicate to avoid the crisis. He said that the Central bank of Egypt (CBE) will cover such package.

Heath Minister Aide for pharmaceutical affairs Tareq Salman said that the CBE has bought three medical cargos to plug the gap of the drugs.

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