By ADRIAN MWANZA
Uncontrolled medicine prices charged by pharmacies are putting patients’ lives in danger.
Such vital drugs as insulin used by diabetic patients are now fetching K350 from K180 and most people are finding it difficult to afford them.
With the shortage of drugs in Government hospital biting even harder, pharmacies are exploiting patients and former Pharmaceutical Society of Zambia (PSZ) president Jerome Kanyika has called on Government to come to the aid of suffering patients.
Government, he said, needed to act and deal with cartels that have gone on rampage and are determining the prices of drugs in the country disadvantaging poor people.
Mr Kanyika said the cartels had resorted to exploiting the Zambian populace as they decided on the prices of drugs since there was no price control by government.
He said government needed to move in and ensure that they controlled the price of drugs because most Zambians were poor and could not afford the exorbitant prices being charged by pharmacies.
Mr Kanyika said even the medication like insulin for diabetes had doubled as it was now fetching at K350 from K180 and most people could not afford to purchase.
“Definitely you cannot rule out the issues of cartels that are manipulating prices much to the disadvantage of the poor Zambians who can’t afford,” he said.
Mr Kanyika said government needed to move in without hesitation and introduce price controls that will deter the cartels from taking advantage of the poor citizenry.
He said that government needed to know that there was need to protect the food and drug supply because they anchored the country’s economy.
Mr Kanyika said that countries like Zimbabwe, Namibia, US, China and even Botswana had put in price controls to ensure that there was no exploitation by the cartels.
He said 60 percent of the Zambian population was poor, therefore government needed to implement price controls without any negotiations in order to save lives.
Mr Kanyika said that since there was no control the cartels decided the prices despite buying the commodity at a very cheap price from the manufacturers.
“Government needs to critically look into the pharmaceutical industry because there is too much exploitation on the poor Zambians who can’t afford due to a few selfish individuals,” he said.
He said it was difficult for people who were not under the National Health Insurance Management Authority (NHIMA) to get medication because most of the drugs were beyond their reach as they very expensive.
And efforts to get Health Minister Sylvia Masebo proved futile as her phone went unanswered.