Drug scarcity hits Sudan
Khartoum — The plight of medicine supply in Sudan has worsened as competent authorities fail to provide vital drugs and prices have increased, sometimes by up to 100 percent, over the recent period, according to Dr. El Nasri Margus.
The director of Sudan’s pharmacy division was interviewed by Radio Dabanga on Thursday on the causes of the worsening “medicine crisis” in Sudan. “The State and Central Bank of Sudan have not fulfulled obligations to provide hard currency to make import of medicines possible, because it does not deem it as a priority.”
Margus said that poor people cannot afford the medicines that are available now. He stressed that the soaring prices threaten Sudan’s health situation and exacerbate current living problems.
Owners of medicine companies and pharmacies said that the recent medicine crisis has contributed to taking about five companies out of business and laying off more than 40 pharmacists, Margus claimed. “They think that the prices of drugs will continue to rise, at the same time as the decline of the Sudanese pound against the U.S. Dollar.”
Most of the medicines in Sudan are imported. As an economist explained in December, traders now freely import medicines with hard currency bought at the black market. The black market rate of the Sudanese pound to the dollar (SDG11.6) is almost double the official rate.
Patients in Khartoum have complained to Radio Dabanga about the dire medicine shortage and soaring prices. A member of the Association of Private Pharmacies confirmed “a 70 percent increase” of some prices last month.