The pharmaceutical sector in Zimbabwe owes foreign suppliers more than $39 million for imported raw materials as well as finished products, resulting in supplies to the southern African country being cut off, an industry official has said.
Speaking to Newsday, Pharmaceutical Society of Zimbabwe president Portifa Mwendera said:
Patients have to move around a number of pharmacies to fill out their prescriptions and some have had to get their treatment regimens changed to whatever is available at the moment.
As of the close of last year, the pharmaceutical importers owed $32,5 million to foreign suppliers while pharmaceutical manufacturers owe about US$7 million for the importation of raw materials.
… the central bank is not up to date in terms of allocations. The industry needs consistent allocations to fund the importation of raw materials and finished products with a bias towards the promotion of local production to ensure import substitution and also exports into the region.
Zimbabwe currently imports between 70% and 80% of its pharmaceutical requirements.
Pharmaceutical Wholesalers’ Association (PWA) chairperson Kuda Chapfika said:
Most of our lines of credit have been cut due to non-payment and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has not allocated us any foreign currency in three months. We are now at the mercy of our suppliers.