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Egypt's pharmaceutical industry hit by foreign currency drop

Feb 10, 2016 Pharmacists in Egypt recently warned that vital drug supplies are gradualy depleting as the country’s ailing economy continues to impact pharmaceutical production.

Egypt recently raised tariff rates on a wide range of imports, in a bid to curb dollar spending on imports.

Doctor Osama Rostom, Commercial Director of Egyptian International Pharmaceutical Industry Co said:

“All of our things are imported from abroad, directly or indirectly, whether the raw material or the packaging material. When the price of the dollar fluctuates, this leads to an increase in the costs. We’ve already talked about the costs in terms of pricing, but now we have another problem, which is access to foreign currency. Today when I want to open a credit line, the Central Bank obliges me to open these credit lines through Egyptian banks – I can’t go get these dollars from the black market, so the Egyptian markets have to provide them. Egyptian banks are suffering from a shortage of foreign currency, so they might not be able to provide us with the currency that we want at the time that we want it,”

Doctor Said Ibrahim, EIPICO’s factory manager, said most companies produce both low and high cost products so that one subsidizes the other.

“The low prices of the products hinder the production of these products because the company can’t afford to make a loss in large amounts. Sometimes, out of social responsibility, we produce an item that loses some of its profit, but we can’t produce a product that has a 50 or 70 percent loss, and this is the company’s problem and the problem of other companies, and especially the companies of the public sector, which are affected by the pricing over the size of production.

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