NatPharm to open retail pharmacies

Published: 03 February 2019
THE National Pharmaceuticals Company (NatPharm) will soon establish retail pharmacies that will dispense drugs at affordable prices and accept forms of payment accessible to the majority as Government moves in to rescue the situation.

This follows a continued defiance, by most private pharmacies, of a Government directive to reduce prices of medicines and shun rating them to either the United States dollar or its parallel market equivalent in RTGS and bond notes.

In an interview Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said Government was moving in to ensure patients have access to affordable drugs. He said the identification of shops to house the Government pharmacies had begun.

"We are busy gathering the medicines and also identifying the places to put up the pharmacies.

"We have instructed Natpharm to commence identification of the buildings where the pharmacies will be. We want it done as soon as possible, the sooner the better," said Minister Moyo.

A survey by our Harare Bureau in most pharmacies in Harare last week showed that medicines are being sold at "reasonable" prices in United States dollars, but are pegged as high as six-fold to the greenback when sold in bond notes or RTGS.

Pain killers and antibiotics such as amoxicillin are pegged at US$1 and US$2 respectively, while their prices in local currency are an average $6 and $11,50.

Addressing legislators in the National Assembly last week, the minister said the country was awaiting delivery of medication worth $25 million from India.

Pharmaceutical Association of Zimbabwe president Mr Portifa Mwendera said the pricing of medicines by pharmacies was dependent on the pricing models from the suppliers.

"Our biggest drug manufacturer in Zimbabwe is Varichem and at the moment they are asking for payment in US dollars. If you get a product which is in RTGS or bond notes, the prices have gone up significantly compared to what existed say last October."
- zimpapers
Tags: Medicine,


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