Tuesday 24 October 2017


THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has dismissed the recent increase in drug prices by up to 70 percent as unjustified because the central bank was allocating $4 million to pharmacies weekly to import drugs. 

According to the Association of Healthcare Funders of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ), some pharmacies increased drug prices by up to 70 percent early this month, while others have been demanding payment in United States dollars only.
In an interview yesterday, RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya said the price hikes were tantamount to abusing patients.

“This country’s economy is not a huge economy, this is not justified at all; it’s abuse of consumers and bad business practice. We need people to behave because there is no way prices of drugs can rise by up to 70 percent. How much did they buy the foreign currency for on the parallel market to justify their prices? People get money from the banks and they abuse the system and use the parallel market to peg their prices,” he said.

Dr Mangudya said the central bank allocates $4 million every week to pharmacies for the purchase of drugs and medicine, as this was one of the sectors on its foreign currency priority list. He said the amount translated to 40 percent of the forex required by pharmacies, with the other 60 percent coming from banks. In a statement last week, AHFoZ said it had engaged the Retail Pharmacies’ Association (RPA) to resolve the problem.

“The AHFoZ wishes to advise medical aid members that most pharmacies have increased the price of drugs by between 30 percent and 70 percent over the past three weeks,” said AHFoZ. “Some pharmacies are charging huge shortfalls, while some are insisting on cash payments in United States dollars and rejecting medical aid cards and other payment methods such as by debit card Ecocash or bond notes.” AHFoZ said it was working to ensure that pharmacies reverted to previous prices. AHFoZ advised medical societies to approach individual pharmacies to negotiate contracts for their members to alleviate the plight of patients. Following recent price hikes, Government advised members of the public to remain calm as it puts in place measures to curtail the threat of shortages. Herald


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