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Egyptian Drug Firms Face Tight Deadline for Price Hikes

The urgency stems from concerns about the financial viability of Egyptian drug companies.

Cairo Scene

Egyptian Drug Firms Face Tight Deadline for Price Hikes

The Egyptian Drug Authority has set a two-week deadline, from March 12th to March 26th, for drug companies to submit requests for price increases. This move comes after the Central Bank of Egypt's recent decision to liberalize the exchange rate, impacting the local currency and raising import costs for pharmaceutical companies.

The urgency stems from concerns about the financial viability of Egyptian drug companies. With 60% of their products currently sold at prices lower than production costs, a price increase is seen as crucial to prevent bankruptcies.

Following the deadline, drug pricing committees will dedicate two months to examining the requests. This translates to a potential four-month wait for companies to receive approval after the official rise in the dollar price.

The situation underscores the delicate balance between ensuring affordable medicine for Egyptians and sustaining the local pharmaceutical industry. Medicine, like petroleum products and bread, is subject to compulsory pricing in Egypt.

Delaying the price increase decision could force the Egyptian state to intervene by covering the exchange rate differentials. Alternatively, a faster approval process for price adjustments might be necessary.

There have been positive developments recently. The past two weeks have seen a breakthrough in providing foreign currency for importing essential pharmaceutical raw materials. Additionally, pending import requests for medicines and production materials are estimated at around USD 200 million.

The coming weeks will be crucial for both the drug companies and the Egyptian government in navigating this complex situation. Ensuring access to affordable medicine while safeguarding the domestic pharmaceutical industry remains a top priority.

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