Egypt increases prices of some medicines after currency plunge

Egypt Health minister, Ahmed Rady has said that Egypt will raise prices for a number of medicines after months of negotiations with pharmaceutical companies hurt by dollar shortages and a weakening currency, saying that the rises apply to 15 per cent of domestically manufactured medicines and also to 20 per cent of imported medicines, he said, adding that the increases will cover 30-50 per cent of the value of the depreciation of the Egyptian pound.

He revealed that E pound’s slump and the foreign currency crunch have made it harder for Egyptian pharmaceutical companies to import active ingredients they need to make generic medicines that millions of poor Egyptians rely on. Egypt abandoned its peg of 8.8 pounds per dollar on November 3 and the pound has since halved in value. Pharmaceutical companies have been negotiating for months with the Health Ministry to raise medicine prices.

While the weaker currency has made it costlier to import raw materials, prices for finished medicines are fixed by the Health Ministry. This has forced companies to stop making some cheap generic medicines to staunch growing financial losses, and shortage in the domestic market have resulted.

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