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Free Floating Pound Causes Egypt to Cut Down On Imported Medicines for 3 Months

The free floating pound continues to wreak havoc on supplies as news emerges that imported medicine will be cut over the next three months due to soaring prices.

Imported medicine may soon be in short supply in Egypt as pharmaceutical companies have allegedly notified pharmacies on Monday that imported medicine will be reduced over the next three months as a result of the Central Bank of Egypt’s decision to free-float the pound.

George Attalah, a Pharmacists' Syndicate Board member tells Al-Masry Al-Youm that it will be impossible for pharmaceutical companies to import drugs after the floatation of the pound sent prices skyrocketing, with many imported drugs having no Egyptian alternatives available. According to Attalah, "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."

Further supporting the claim are several pharmacists who claim to have been verbally told that drug prices will rise by a minimum of five percent. This increase will be further strained as, two months ago, the cabinet raised prices of drugs sold for less than 30 EGP by 20 percent.

As Egypt continues its economic transition, many pharmacy owners and the Pharmaceutical Industry Chamber have begun warning that current reserves of imported drugs are not enough to cover three months of demand and could lead to a shortage crisis if the state is unable to quickly resolve the matter.