Sudan Parliamentary Health Committee predicts ‘impending disaster’ as medicine prices soar

Report
from Radio Dabanga
Published on 18 Dec 2017 View Original

The health committee of the Sudanese Parliament expects an ‘impending disaster in the pharmaceutical sector’ and announced that foreign companies have stopped supplying medical supplies and lifesaving and chronic disease medicines because of the accumulation of debts.

The committee chair, Imtithal El Rayah El Tireif, acknowledged that medicine prices have increased threefold, putting them beyond people’s affordability.

She pointed out that 100 categories of life-saving medicines are not available in the private sector.

El Tireif warned of a disaster in the medicine sector in the event of depletion of the stock of medical supplies, saying that even if the Central Bank of Sudan pays the foreign companies, the medicines will not arrive until three months later.

The committee accuses the Central Bank of Sudan of violating the directives of the Presidency to provide foreign currency for the import of medicines.

The committee announced its intention to summon the Minister of Health to clarify the matter.

Private pharmacies

Dr Nasri Margas, former head of the private pharmacies department, called on the government to immediately intervene by providing hard currency for importing medicines.

He said in an interview with Radio Dabanga that the current medicine crisis has reached a stage that threatens the lives of people, especially those with chronic diseases.

He attributed the cause of the crisis to the Ministry of Finance halting provision of the US Dollar at an agreed price to import medicines, forcing companies to buy from the parallel market. This is aggravated by the continuous rise of the price of the US Dollar against the Sudanese Pound to the extent that the owners of private companies have stopped importing medicines.

He said that the public sector is buying medicines from suppliers with a delayed payment, but the Bank of Sudan has failed to pay the dues of the suppliers which have stopped the supply of medicines.

Margas called on the Presidency and authorities to provide more US Dollars for the purchase of medicines, because of the two- to three-month delay between medicine order and delivery.

He pointed out that the delay in the use of medicines for the patients will exasperate their complaints and health deterioration for which will cost the government twice as much in the long term.