High Prices In Zimbabwe Causes Increase In Smuggling, Fake Medicines Problem

Mozambique’s border with Zimbabwe in Chamanimani has become a hive of smuggling activity, an opportunity created by steep prices increases of basics in Zimbabwe these past several months.  Goods being smuggled include fuel, medicines, used car tyres, and beverages. The high prices USD pricing of medicines in local pharmacies have also see individuals relying on smuggled unregulated medicines from Mozambique.

A report from Chimanimani says that the goods are smuggled through a river in Chimanimani. The smuggling has drawn in children both in Mozambique and Zimbabwe who are dropping out of school to engage in the illegal trade.

Says part of the report:

This is December. Their operations get a jolt in the arm. Lorries coming from Johannesburg, South Africa, are locked in their own smuggling trick. “Their real destination is Zimbabwe. But they head to Mozambique here instead, and lie to customs that they will offload their goods here in Mozambique. They proceed to Zimbabwe border to dump their wares across the river by canoe and quickly drive back to South Africa,” says Gondai…

The smuggling of second-hand tyres has also picked up owing to their high prices in Zimbabwe

…Brand new tyres in Zimbabwe cost US$100 each, so there is a thriving market for run-down tyres from Mozambique, which sell for US$20. But this causes dire road mishaps, he admits.

A problem of unregulated fake medicines smuggled into Zimbabwe is growing as locals cannot afford the high prices pharmacies are charging locally:

One popular brand carried by smugglers from across the border in Mozambique is called Tsunami.The yellowpills have flooded the streets of Mutare, Zimbabwe´s biggest border city with Mozambique. Tsunami is hawked as a multipurpose treatment for flu, skin pimples, malaria, migraine headaches, and even syphilis. “It´s such a dangerous joke. None of us medics knows the origin of this street pill,” says Dr. Laxton Majoni, an infectious diseases expert in Mutare.

But buyers don’t care. “Lawful hospitals need $5 up front. Then they reveal to you they don’t have drugs,” said Charity Kanyekanye, a diabetes and cholesterol patient in Mutare. “Here, I just pay $2 and I can drink my medicines without a hassle.”

More: Paul Shalala Blog

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