Prince Sunduzani, Chronicle Reporter
PHARMACIES in Zimbabwe have hiked drug prices by up to 70 percent over the past three weeks and some are demanding payment in United States dollars only, it has emerged.
In a statement, the Association of Healthcare Funders of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ) said it had engaged the Retail Pharmacies’ Association (RPA) to try and resolve the problem.
“The AHFoZ wishes to advise medical aid members that most pharmacies have increased the price of drugs by between 30 percent and 70 percent over the past three weeks,” said AHFoZ.
“Some pharmacies are charging huge shortfalls, while some are insisting on cash payments in United States dollars and rejecting medical aid cards as other payment methods such as by debit card Ecocash or bond notes.”
AHFoZ said following deliberations with the RPA, they have since engaged the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to seek an allocation of foreign currency so that pharmacies can revert to previous prices.
The AHFoZ advised medical societies to approach individual pharmacies to negotiate contracts for their members to alleviate the plight of patients.
“It is our hope that this problem will be resolved urgently as drugs are crucial for recovering good health. Price increases or demands for cash at the point of service in the current environment where salaries are not being increased and hard cash is unavailable can only worsen the suffering of patients,” said AHFoz.
Government has condemned recent price hikes saying they are unjustified.
It has since advised members of the public to remain calm as it puts in place measures to curtail the threat of shortages.
Members of Parliament recently condemned the hiking of prices by retailers, saying this was meant to incite people to rise against the Government.
They said the unjust price hikes were seriously affecting Government programmes aimed at reviving the economy.
Mpopoma-Pelandaba legislator Cde Joseph Tshuma said in Parliament last week that there was also manipulation of the exchange rate.
He said the recent price hikes were meant to incite people against the Government. — @PrinceNkosy102
Article Source: The Chronicle