Egyptian pharmacists to sue government over price increases

The Egyptian Pharmacists’ Syndicate decided on Saturday to sue the Egyptian government for its decision to raise the prices of 3,000 drugs, one quarter of all on the market, Anadolu reported on Sunday. A threatened strike by its members has been postponed for two weeks in order to give the government time to review its decision.

The ministry of health announced the price increase last Tuesday; 300 of the drugs affected are used for chronic illnesses. The prices rises vary from 30 per cent to 50 per cent and come after months of negotiations between the ministry and the pharmacists, whose business has been damaged by the scarcity of US dollars in Egypt and the dramatic fall in the value of the Egyptian pound.

Meanwhile, the syndicate agreed on the proposal suggested by the Parliamentary Health Committee to reduce the tax rate on drugs temporarily to twenty three per cent for locally-produced medicines and 15 per cent for imported products.

There are between 3,000 and 6,000 government pharmacies in Egypt, in addition to those pharmacists within every hospital and healthcare centre. There are also 61,000 which are privately owned and operated.