Pharmaceutical Society of Zimbabwe president Mr Portifa Mwendera says pharmacies had closed due to failure to restock as most wholesalers have run out of medication or are demanding payment in United States dollars. He said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) allocations are a far cry from what is required to keep the health sector running.

“For one of the manufacturing firms that requires US$400 000 monthly, the RBZ only allocated $10 000 in August and only $20 000 in September. They have not received anything for October so far,” said Mr Mwendera. “In the first quarter, the sector received 34 percent of its requirements and in second quarter this fell to 15 percent and there is no way we can operate under such circumstances,” he said.

According to Mr Mwendera, pharmacies are now charging patients in US$ as they can only access products using the same currency. “The main reason for closing is that our supply chain is heavily dependent on importation and foreign currency was not being availed to the pharmaceutical companies to import,” said Mr Mwendera.

“The impact is that it puts the availability of medicines beyond the reach of many as the shortage of foreign currency is affecting everyone. Once people start missing their doses of medication, we start having the condition becoming worse and complicated to manage thereby putting health care costs further up.”