2 August 2018

Sudan: Chronic, Essential Medicines Unaffordable for Many Sudanese

Sudan — Residents of several Sudanese states have complained about the lack and high prices of lifesaving medicines to tread chronic conditions such as blood pressure and diabetes, as well as medicines related to epilepsy and other neurological and psychological conditions.

A number of patients, doctors and pharmacists told Radio Dabanga that the costs of treatment in the states are very high, and poverty and collapse of the currency put it out of financial reach of many in Sudan.

A resident told Radio Dabanga that health insurance does not cover some high-price medicines so many patients cannot afford to buy them, prompting the villagers to resort to traditional herbal medicine.

A number of pharmacists in Khartoum said that dozens of patients enter the pharmacies daily and leave empty handed as they are unable to meet the costs.

Pharmacists say that the prices of imported medicines are linked to the value of the US Dollar, which has risen by 300 per cent, while doctors believe that the severity of poverty and its spread in the country subject a large segment of the population to disease and death.

Prices

For example, as reported by Radio Dabanga last month, the price for 'Simpicor', a medicine for the treatment of asthma, has risen from SDG90 ($3.20*) to SDG254.5 ($9). Insulin has risen to SDG250 ($8.89) instead of SDG 220 ($7.81) a bottle. Some medicines that are included in the National Fund for Medical Supplies have become more expensive as well.

A number of pharmaceutical companies in Sudan have confirmed the scarcity of several medicinal products in the country. More than 200 types of medicines have become completely unavailable. Pharmaceutical companies are now forced to import medicine first and obtain the currency later, as banks in Sudan refuse to open credit or grant foreign currency. Most foreign and local companies, however, refuse to provide medicines without receiving payment in advance.

* Based on the indicative US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS)

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