Many pharmaceutical companies, during the last period, submitted requests to the Egyptian Medications Authority to increase the prices of their products against the background of the increase in the cost of the dollar against the pound, which would add new burdens to the burdens of the Egyptian family, which is groaning due to the successive rises in prices in all goods and services. The last period witnessed pressure from pharmaceutical companies on the Medications Authority to increase prices by reducing the supply in the market of some critical pharmaceutical items. The Authority acquiesced in and approved the increase in the prices of some medications at rates that exceeded 100% in some cases. Still, the companies’ demands now are to raise the prices of most Medications available in the Egyptian market.
The citizen is the victim
Increases in the prices of medications have continued since late 2021, claiming that the costs of raw materials have risen globally and the existence of a crisis in shipping. At that time, some vital medications rose at rates ranging between 10 and 100%. At the beginning of this year, there was a new increase in the prices of many items, including antibiotics, some medications included in the protocol of treating coronavirus infection and those for malignancies, sugar and infant formula.
The Egyptian Medications Authority decided last February to move the prices of some pharmaceutical items that treat burns, sore throats and colic in infants, and vitamin D and B and immune-enhancing drugs used in treating coronavirus infections. The rates of price increase exceeded 100% in some cases. Pharmaceutical companies were not satisfied with these increases. They lobbied for an increase in the prices of more medications by withholding 47 types of medicines from the market, including medications used to treat chronic diseases, including cancer, epilepsy, diabetes, and in cases of bone marrow transplantation. With the Central Bank’s decision last March to reduce the price of the pound against the dollar by 17%, pharmaceutical companies returned to demand, raising the prices of most drugs in the Egyptian market, which number about 17,000, similar to what happened in early 2017 after the devaluation of the pound against the dollar. By more than 100%.
Mahmoud Fouad, head of the Egyptian Center for the Right to Medications, criticized the decisions of the successive increase in drug prices since last December, stressing that “the sales of pharmaceutical companies rose with a noticeable increase during the past year by about 86 billion pounds, compared to 80 billion pounds in 2020,” calling on the Medications Authority to put A cap on corporate profits so as not to provoke the shortage of some vital medications to increase prices. It is feared that the Medications Authority will decide to approve these demands, in light of the significant price hikes that citizens have been suffering from during the last period, as the government must intervene and compensate companies for the partial decline in their profits in return for maintaining a regular flow at the same current prices for citizens.
The inflation rate rose last March for the whole of the republic, on an annual basis, by 12.1%, to reach its highest value in nearly three years, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics. The rate of price increase in the countryside reached 13.7%, while it reached 10.5% in the urban areas, more significant than the inflation target targeted by the Central Bank, which is estimated at 5-9%.
Analysts expect that inflation will continue to rise in the coming period, with the continuation of turmoil in Ukraine, which contributed to raising the prices of most commodities and products globally, in addition to the decline in the cost of the Egyptian pound against the dollar by about 17% at the end of March, which increases the import bill.
It is expected that the inflation trend will continue to rise in the coming months until we reach the peak of the price hike during the current month, which will witness Egypt’s impact on the devaluation of the currency that was allowed by the Central Bank towards the end of last March. Still, its impact has not yet reached most products in the markets. Thus, the Egyptian citizen finds himself besieged from every direction, the currency is declining in value, and the prices of essential commodities are rising insanely. We are now in the month of Ramadan in which the rate of consumption is rising, and the coming does not bode well or a breakthrough.