Read­ers' Views

Mr Pres­i­dent, don’t for­get pharma sec­tor

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - COMMENT - Chi­ratidzo

EDI­TOR — This is in re­sponse to the ar­ti­cle “Sta­bil­is­ing the econ­omy: Tack­ling the par­al­lel mar­ket”.

About time this hap­pened. Once upon a time, it was a crime to hold forex or trade in forex. Even tourists were ex­pected to change their money at bu­reaux de change be­fore pay­ing for ser­vices.

But now they are given op­tions and if they chose to pay in forex, guess what? The staff take the forex and change it on the street and set­tle their bills.

An­other area to fo­cus your at­ten­tion, Mr Pres­i­dent, is the car­tels who con­trol the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try.

They have re­mained silent, al­low­ing their sup­ply chain in Zim­babwe to charge US dol­lars to the very vul­ner­a­ble in our so­ci­ety.

Look at how the cook­ing oil in­dus­try re­sponded by rein­ing in cul­prits and self-reg­u­lat­ing. The fuel in­dus­try too has en­sured that mo­torists are not be­ing charged in US dol­lars.

But not the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try. Yet we know that the drugs they sell in this coun­try are dom­i­nated by In­dian pharma. They source at two cents and sell here for $2, mak­ing su­per prof­its in the process.

Where was the MCAZ (Medicines Con­trol Author­ity of Zim­babwe) in all this? Af­ter all, they jus­tify their ex­is­tence as a body for our pro­tec­tion so that we do not get poi­soned through us­ing un­reg­is­tered drugs.

But they have been silent while Zim­bab­weans have been struggling to source med­i­ca­tion as dis­trib­u­tors and phar­ma­cies shut their doors to the pub­lic. What ex­actly are they reg­u­lat­ing?

This needs a com­mis­sion of in­quiry, Mr Pres­i­dent.

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