The Pharmacists Syndicate on Saturday began its scheduled general assembly, in response to the decision made by the Ministry of Health and pharmaceutical companies to increase the prices of medicine.
The syndicate leaders will review during the general assembly the updates and results of their negotiations with officials from the ministry regarding the issue, as well as their demands. Last week, the syndicate negotiated with the parliament’s Health Committee and Health Minister Ahmed Emad El-Din. The meeting resulted in various suggestions, but no final solution was reached.
The decision to hold a general assembly came after all other efforts made by the syndicate to solve the issue of random medication pricing had failed. Members of the parliamentary Health Committee are attempting to solve the issue between both sides.
The syndicate previously said that it will not accept any solution, unless all participants in the general assembly agree to it.
Following the general assembly, the pharmacists will begin a three-day partial strike on Sunday before escalating into a full strike thereafter. During the partial strike, pharmacists will close their pharmacies for six hours each day.
Individual pharmacists and pharmacy owners will participate in the assembly.
The syndicate has been calling on the Health Ministry to limit price hikes. The syndicate said that the increased cost of medication will impact citizens; however, their position had mostly been in defence of their profit margins.
The pharmacists are calling on the ministry to demand companies adhere to Decree 499 for 2012 that included a profit margin of 15% for imported medicines and 23% for exported medicines.
Disputes between the syndicate and the ministry regarding profit margin continues, despite previous court verdicts arguing that the profit margin has been the same for over the last 30 years.
The Health Ministry has officially increased the price of medication by 20% on Thursday. The decision will be only applicable on medicines produced after 12 January. The increment will include 3,000 types of medicines, among which 300 types are for chronic diseases.
Since the Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) decision to float the Egyptian pound and the foreign currency shortage, many companies have struggled to import certain types of medicines and many of the raw materials used in the production of local medicine. This has led to a shortage of many imported and locally produced medication.