Infant formula to be sold via smartcards: Health Minister   
Egyptian health minister Ahmed Emad Eldin - YOUM7

CAIRO: Infant formula will be sold to the public by smart cards, following an assessment by the Ministry of Health of eligible customers amid a shortage crisis; Youm7 quoted Minister of Health Ahmed Emad Monday .

Emad recently announced the number of pharmacies selling the subsidized formula cans has increased, ensuring there will be “tight control” over these outlets to prevent any unauthorized purchases.

Protests have been staged over the lack of formula, and reported increases in the price of the fully-subsidized can, allegedly from 3 EGP ($0.34) increased to 17 EGP, which is the price of partially subsidized one.

Tins are sold at 55-60 EGP at = privately-owned markets and pharmacies.

The ministry began evaluating the beneficiaries of the formula subsidies after a recent tender to import it.

The shortage has reportedly led to a black market for formula, where the price of a tin reaching 100 EGP ($11.18.)

The current strategic store of the meal supplement is sufficient for between four-five months, the ministry said.

Some 12 percent of Egyptian newborns need to have their diets supplemented through formula annually, head of the regional sector at the ministry Hala Masekh told Youm7. She added that by mid-2016, more than 350,000 children will be receiving the milk through smart cards; each child will receive 64 tins per year.

Besides the formula shortage, hundreds of medicines are reportedly unavailable at pharmacies due to U.S. dollar shortage in Egypt.

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