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Govt acts on drug shortages

by Staff reporter
18 Nov 2018 at 07:31hrs | Views
The Health and Child Care Ministry is using its foreign currency allocation from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to purchase raw materials to help CAPS Holdings and Datlabs manufacture medicines locally, a Cabinet minister has said.

Answering questions in the Senate last week, Health Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said Government was also working to end the practice of pharmacies pricing drugs in United States dollars, and that all recipients of foreign currency allocations would account for what they got.

Dr Moyo said, "From the allocation we are going to get, we will buy raw materials to give CAPS and Datlabs to manufacture drugs. They will account for the money. After they manufacture, we will send those drugs to the National Pharmaceutical Company. NatPharm does not have enough drugs in their warehouses. We told NatPharm that we want to do a re-stocking exercise."

The minister said India would supply 100 tonnes of drugs and facilitate more supplies through government-to-government arrangements that provided flexible payment terms.

"The first step we have taken is we talked with people in India; by the way, about 80 percent of our drugs come from India.

''We have signed a memorandum of understanding with India and … I was with the Indian Ambassador and he was telling me about the arrangement between our NatPharm and its equivalent in India, so that we can get drugs from companies in India without paying deposits.

"If our NatPharm just goes on its own without the backing of Indian companies, they will be required to pay deposits and it will take about four months before we get any drugs."

On pharmacies charging in US dollars, Dr Moyo said Government was approaching the matter cautiously.

"I think you saw what happened on the fuel crisis, some garages had their licences revoked. We (have) also (contemplated) doing the same but we have to be wise on that, and we do want pharmacies to complain that we have revoked their licences because of US dollars."

Dr Moyo said Government had engaged the United Nations World Health Organisation on drug supplies, saying the matter was being treated as an emergency.

Source - sundaymail