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Sudanese pharmacists to go on partial strike on Thursday

A customer buys medication at a pharmacy in Khartoum January 13, 2013. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah Photo)
November 30, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The Central Committee of the Sudanese Pharmacists (CCSP) said it would go on a partial strike and organize a protest on Thursday to reject drug price increase and demand release of its detained members.

Earlier in November, Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS) announced it will no longer provide US dollar for drug importation at rate of 7,5 Sudanese pounds (SDG) forcing pharmaceutical companies to buy the dollar from the black market at 17,5 pounds.

Following the CBoS’s decision, the Sudan Pharmacy Council (SPC) issued a new list showing the drug price has drastically increased by 100 to 300 percent.

The decision stirred a large wave of protests across Sudan. Also, some two hundred private pharmacies in Khartoum went on partial strike and closed their doors from 09:00 am to 05:00 pm last week in protest against the government’s move.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Wednesday, the CCSP said that pharmacies at hospitals and medical insurance pharmacies would continue to provide the service to the needy during the partial strike on Thursday.

The CCSP added that it would organize a peaceful sit-in at the premises of the Pharmacists House at 11:00 am (local time) on Thursday to express refusal for the increase of drug price and demand release of the detained pharmacists.

The statement pointed to the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) continued daily summoning and detention of three CCSP members including Hatim al-Da’ak, Baha al-Din Ahmed al-Hag and Al-Tayeb Bukhari.

“These repeated harassments and detentions wouldn’t distract or hold us back from the main goal of rejecting and peacefully resisting the decision to lift subsidies on medicine” read the statement.

The CCSP said it would escalate resistance and continue to go on partial strikes for longer periods of time if its demands were not met, saying the decision to increase drug price has already been implemented.

It described the statements by the Health Minister Bahar Idris Abu Garda about the cancellation of the new drug price list as mere “deception” and “malicious attempt”, saying he didn’t announce any decision to reinstate drug subsidy.

In an emergency press conference on Friday, Abu Garda announced that President Omer al-Bashir sacked the secretary general of the SPC and cancelled a new list of drug price he recently issued.

Large segments of the Sudanese people had engaged in a three-day civil disobedience act from 27 to 29 November to protest the recent austerity measures and the lack of freedoms.

(ST)