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CONSUMER BODY CONDEMNS EXORBITANT DRUG PRICES 

By KETRA KALUNGA

THE government should Investigate the exorbitant pricing of medicines by certain pharmacies and get to the bottom of the matter before the country begins to lose lives, the Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA) urges the government.

But Zambia Pharmaceutical Society of Zambia (PSZ) says prices of medicines vary depending on the brand and people have a choice on the type of drug to buy from pharmacies.

ZACA executive secretary Juba Sakala said over pricing of drugs especially insulin has been a concern which relevant authorities should act on before it becomes a normal trend.

Mr. Sakala in an interview urged the Ministry of Health and Pharmaceutical Society of Zambia (PSZ) working with the Zambia police to get to the bottom of it so that culprits are brought to book.

He said extortion of money from innocent people especially patients through exorbitant pricing of vital medicines is a serious matter that should not be tolerated.

‘’Reports of a cartel of pharmacies coming up with uncontrolled prices and selling insulin for diabetic patients at K350 from K180 are dangerours because we may have a situation where people will be dying because they don’t have money to buy drugs,’’ he said.

Mr. Sakala that the government through the law enforcement agencies should ensure that they avoid a situation where diabetic patients fail to acquire insulin because it’s expensive.

He said such a situation if left unattended to would bring anxiety to diabetic patients that require insulin on a daily basis to survive.

Mr Sakala urged  consumers to take interest in the matter and report anyone selling insulin above the known price of K180 to relevant authorities.

He said anyone selling insulin and other vital drugs above the known price should be reported because that is a potential suspect and could be linked to a cartel which the law enforcement agencies should quickly dismantle.

But PSZ president, Kennedy Saini said in an interview that the price of medicines vary depending on the brand and people have a choice on the type of drug to buy from pharmacies.

Mr. Saini said the pharmacies should  not be criminalized because they play a vital role of supplementing government efforts by filling the gap when the country experiences a shortage of drugs. 

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