25 February 2018

Sudan: Psychiatric, Cancer Medicine Availability Drops 80 Percent

Khartoum — The shortage of medicines has been hampering psychiatric and neurological treatment in Sudan for more than a month.

Dr Nasri Morgos, Head of the Private Pharmacies Association, told Radio Dabanga on Friday that the availability of psychiatric and neurological treatment medicines dropped by 80 per cent a month ago.

"Even hospitals and clinics specialised in the treatment of neurological and psychological diseases are short of medicines," he said. "Cancer medicines are even more difficult to find."

Morgos explained that the pharmacies have become very reluctant to buy expensive medicines from abroad, as most patients cannot afford to pay for them.

"About 60 per cent of the people who visit my pharmacy and learn about the new prices of their medicine do not return. Medical treatment has become a privilege for the rich only."

"Medical treatment has become a privilege for the rich only."

Dollar rate

In early January, the Sudanese government raised the customs rate of the US Dollar from SDG 6.7 to an indicative SDG 18, in a bid to halt the to halt the plummeting Pound on the black market.

Prices of imported goods like wheat and medicines doubled, and in some cases, even tripled.

Dozens of pharmacists in Khartoum embarked on a strike in end January in protest against reduced medicine prices set by the Medicines and Toxics Council.

Because of the scarcity of hard currency at the banks, medicines importing companies have to buy their Dollars from the black market at a price which is double the new customs rate.

"The government now wants to oblige us to sell medicines at prices cheaper than the purchase prices," a pharmacist told this station at the time.

On February 5, the Bank of Sudan raised the indicative exchange rate of the US Dollar again, from SDG 18 to SDG 30.

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