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Sudan’s drug imports reached €600 million: lawmaker

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January 15, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The member of Sudan’s parliamentary subcommittee on Finance and Economy, Babiker Mohamed al-Tom, said that imports of drugs amounted to €600 million and called upon the government to encourage local pharmaceutical industry.

In press statements on Wednesday, al-Tom called for developing a clear vision on expanding domestic pharmaceutical production through attracting capital investments, supporting research centres and strengthening scientific standards of the drug industry.

“We can depend on external scientific standards particularly from Arab countries while we develop our own”, he said

Al-Tom further pointed that Sudan could authorise the use of all drugs approved in the Arab Gulf states.

Last November, Sudan’s Drug Importers Chamber (DIC) revealed that 31 foreign pharmaceutical companies refused to deal with Sudan until outstanding credits amounting to $90 million are repaid and accused the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS) of failing to provide the necessary foreign exchange for drug importation.

The DIC renewed its call for the allocation of a portion of gold revenues for drugs importation rather than revenues from other non-oil exports which only provides for 30 to 40% of actual needs.

It noted that inability to provide foreign currency for drug importers is the main reason for recent increases in drug prices, stressing that several pharmaceutical companies were forced to shut down over lack of hard currency.

After South Sudan’s independence in mid-2011, Khartoum lost access to more than three-quarters of the oil reserves that were the main driver of an economic boom that lasted for much of the last decade.

Since then the government has struggled with a shortage of hard currency and revenue as the pound sank in value on the widely used black market and inflation soared.

(ST)

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