Egypt to cut down imported medicines for three months

After the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced the pound floatation last Thursday, pharmaceutical companies have notified pharmacies Monday that the number of imported medicines will be reduced over the next 3 months, as of November 5, due to high costs.

George Attalah, a member of the Pharmacists Syndicate board said it had become nearly impossible for pharmaceutical companies to import drugs after the pound floatation, due to the significant increase in the foreign currency exchange rates. 

He added that the only solution to the crisis would be changing the prices of drugs, especially that a large number of imported drugs have no Egyptian alternatives.

"If the situation continues as it is, the availability of the medicines will decrease dramatically, leading to the spread of smuggling and adulteration of these drugs," Attalah told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

In a related note, a number of pharmacy owners said pharmaceutical companies had already notified them verbally that the price of local drugs would rise by a minimum of 5 percent, upon the CBE's decision. 
Two months ago, the Cabinet had already raised the prices of drugs sold at less than LE30 by 20 percent. 
Pharmacy owners, meanwhile, warned that the current reserves of imported drugs would not be enough to cover three months of demand, which would lead to a shortage crisis.

The Pharmaceutical Industry Chamber expected the shortage crisis to escalate significantly if the state does not intervene quickly to resolve it.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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